Advertisement

Convicted fraudster who will testify at GOP impeachment hearing sought pardon from Trump in 2020

A convicted felon and notorious fraudster interviewed by House investigators as part of the Republican-led impeachment probe into President Joe Biden sought a presidential pardon during the waning days of the Trump administration and refused to rule out asking for one if Mr Trump is returned to office.

The Republican witness, Jason Galanis, is scheduled to give evidence from a federal prison by remote video link on Wednesday when House Republicans convene a public hearing with several former business associates of Mr Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

Galanis, who is known at the federal facility as inmate 80739-198, was questioned by House investigators in February about business activities he had participated in with fellow convicted criminal Devon Archer — a former business partner of Mr Biden’s son, as part of the House Oversight Committee’s long-running probe into the Biden family.

At the time, a source familiar with the outcome of the transcribed interview told The Independent that the jailhouse interview turned up nothing in the way of incriminating evidence or testimony linking the president to his son’s activities.

Specifically, the source said that Galanis said under oath that Mr Biden never held any role with any business entity connected to his son.

He also told investigators that he had “no knowledge” of Mr Biden undertaking “any official action” to benefit the business venture in which Galanis, Archer and Hunter Biden were involved.

The source also said Galanis admitted to investigators that Mr Biden’s name was nowhere to be found in any of the documents he and his lawyer, former Trump White House official Mark Paoletta, provided to the House committees.

Despite the lack of evidence against Mr Biden presented during the closed-door interview, Republicans hope that Galanis will provide damaging testimony that can be weaponised against the president. And Galanis may have hopes that Mr Trump could help him shed his criminal status if he returns to the White House after this year’s election.

According to a transcript of his interview, he admitted to investigators that he sought a reduction in sentence from the then-president in late 2020.

But when asked if he’d seek a pardon in the future, he replied: “Certainly the opposite of that position with the administration that’s in power”.

Under further questioning from committee staff, Galanis repeatedly refused to say whether he’d ask Mr Trump for a pardon if he becomes president after this year’s presidential election.

His attorney, Mr Paoletta, also jumped in to push back on the questions, telling investigators: “I don’t know why this is relevant to the testimony”.