White House spokesperson accuses CNN anchor of pushing GOP Hunter Biden talking point in tense exchange

White House Spokesperson for Oversight and Investigations Ian Sams accused CNN anchor Phil Mattingly of pushing a GOP talking point during a tense discussion about Hunter Biden.

On Wednesday, Hunter declared his father, President Biden, was never “financially involved” in his business dealings during a Capitol Hill press conference.

The following day on “CNN This Morning,” Mattingly asked Sams whether Hunter had intentionally used the language “financially involved” to skirt an admission that he had at least spoken to his father about his business.

“He was unequivocal about that, but that is an evolution of where the president had been during the campaign, where the White House had been at the start of the campaign. Not involved financially in the business is very different than not talked about the business. Was that an intentional point of clarity?” Mattingly said.

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“I dispute the premise of that question,” Sams replied. “It’s one of Jim Jordan’s favorite little shiny objects, is to try to take a semantic thing and make an argument that is somehow far afield from what they’re focused on,” he added, referencing Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 

He then claimed that the White House has been “extremely clear” over the years about Biden’s potential possible role in his son’s business dealings.

“The president was not in business with his son, period,” Sams added. “They’re trying to make up all sorts of allegations.”

“Ian, with respect, I’m not citing Jim Jordan here; I was in some of the White House press briefings where it was said the president did not talk to his son about business dealings. That is very clearly not the case and I think the statement from the White House changed and I think has been a little bit more precise over the course of the last several months,” Mattingly interjected.

The anchor stressed that he was not saying it is an impeachable offense or “some grand indictment,” but it is a “fact” that Biden said one thing that ended up being not true.

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Sams again disputed Mattingly’s assertion and said Biden was not in business with his son. He then tried to pivot to a conversation about Republican attacks against the Biden family when Mattingly again interrupted.

“I’m not saying he was in business with his son,” Mattingly said.

Sams concluded by suggesting that Republicans have been using “semantic games” to distract from “the actual truth,” claiming all of the allegations against Biden have been “debunked.”

Hunter’s offer to testify publicly is a de facto rejection of the GOP demand that he appear Wednesday for the closed-door deposition he was subpoenaed for. That deposition was scheduled to take place Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

The White House and Biden have maintained that the president was “never in business” with his son. Biden has also said he never spoke to his son about his business dealings, but evidence – like email records and testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business partners – presented by House Republicans in their investigations seem to contradict those statements.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 

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