Kevin Morris, the Hollywood entertainment lawyer who fronted Hunter Biden millions, testified last Thursday before the combined House Judiciary, Oversight, and Ways and Means Committees. A just-released transcript of that closed-door interview shows the attorney said all the right things to avoid creating further legal jeopardy for the president and his son. Believable or not didn’t really matter because it would be nearly impossible to disprove Morris’ claims — and Morris seemingly knew that.
Here are the five most incredible tales Morris told.
1. Morris Gave Hunter Biden Legal Representation on Everything
Thursday’s transcribed interview began with Morris providing a brief introductory statement, telling the committee, “Hunter is my client and one of my closest friends.” Morris then explained that he first met Hunter briefly during a November 2019 fundraiser for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. A week later, Lanette Phillips, who had hosted the campaign event, called Morris and arranged for him to meet with Hunter Biden about “some potential legal issues in the entertainment industry.”
Morris claims that when he met with Hunter a week later, their attorney-client relationship began. When pushed on the contours of his representation of Hunter Biden, Morris replied that “in my job I represent high-profile individuals” who are “basically virtual corporations,” and “I oversee … sort of like a general counsel.” The Hollywood attorney added, “I am involved in everything,” and stressed, “If you check my retainer agreements, you’ll see that it says all matters.”
Of course, that’s what the retainer agreement would say to create an arguable claim of attorney-client privilege for every conversation Morris had with Hunter. Yet Morris didn’t execute a retention agreement until months later.
Morris claimed not to remember when “later in 2020” they signed the retention agreement, telling the committee they needed it “hygiene-wise” and put it in place when “some of the bombing started” — an apparent reference to the media’s focus on various Biden family scandals.
At first, Morris also said he didn’t remember if he represented Hunter’s wife, Melissa Cohen, saying, “Look, I don’t know. I think I do. Well, I’ll get back to you.” Morris then recalled that “the retainer agreement was with both of them,” adding that he provided Melissa “the same kind of general advice I provide Hunter.”
Then, throughout the hours-long hearing, Morris regularly refused to answer committee questions, claiming the conversations were protected by attorney-client privilege. While House Republicans disagreed with Morris on the breadth of the privilege, Morris showed he knew very well there wasn’t much they could do about it during the proceedings, stating a couple of times, “You and I can debate that all day long.”
“We can debate, get higher authorities to rule about what my attorney-client privilege covered or didn’t cover, you know,” Morris said at one point, likely confident the House would not pursue the matter further.
2. Paying Hunter’s Debts Was Merely Providing Him with Interest-Bearing Loans
The retention agreement wasn’t the only contract Morris and Hunter entered months later for “hygiene” purposes: They also papered over what Morris testified were loans he made to Hunter Biden — loans that began within a month of Morris meeting the son of the now-president.
When asked by House Republicans if there was a loan agreement in place when he first began giving loans out to Hunter Biden, Morris said, “No, we documented it a little later.” But when pushed on what “a little later” meant, Morris claimed he didn’t remember but that it might have been a year or six months later.
Morris then explained that when they “papered” the loans, there were a series of interest-bearing promissory notes he entered with Hunter, with a due date in 2025. Morris told the committee that his lawyer worked with Hunter’s lawyer to handle the logistics.
“Hunter wouldn’t accept it as a gift, and I want the money back,” Morris said, testifying that he has a 100 percent expectation that the money is coming back to him.
That’s very convenient because if the loan was actually a gift, there would be gift tax implications. Likewise, if the loan was non-interest-bearing, that would create additional tax issues for Hunter Biden. Morris seemed to recognize as much, as shown by his response to a question concerning the interest rate charge: “It’s whatever the legal requirement is. [Five] percent jumps to my head.”
When pushed on whether the arrangement was an “illusory loan,” Morris retorted: “Well, that’s a legal concept that somebody can try to enforce. To me, it’s not.”
3. Helping Hunter Was Morris’ Sole Concern
A third exchange required quite a bit of gullibility to swallow: Morris’ email telling Hunter’s accountant that the emergency is off for today, but that Hunter’s tax returns need to be filed Monday because “we are under considerable risk personally and politically to get the returns in.”
When pushed on what the emergency was, Morris claimed:
I believe that, you know, remember that the Trump impeachment process was going on at this time. And, you know, they were waiving around the possibility of calling Hunter, you know, right until the very end. … I believe that, you know, that was the thing prompting us — you know, this is about preparing his tax returns.
There’s just one little problem. Morris’ email calling off the emergency for the day was dispatched on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, but Trump had been acquitted by the Senate two days earlier. Morris also couldn’t explain what filing the tax returns would have to do with the impeachment inquiry, with the Hollywood lawyer instead saying, “I’m speculating that that’s what I was talking about.”
Morris also faltered when asked to explain what “political risk” Hunter Biden faced, as opposed to his father Joe Biden. After all, Hunter wasn’t running for office, the committee prompted. Morris agreed but claimed the “risk had nothing to do with then-candidate Joe Biden.”
Here, House Republicans suggested that paying off Hunter Biden’s tax debt might qualify as a campaign contribution if Morris sought to benefit then-candidate Joe Biden. But with Morris’ denial, there was not much more the committee could do other than push the lawyer on what the “political risk” was to Hunter. Morris again fell back on the Trump impeachment, testifying, “Look, there was an impeachment proceeding going on. His name was and face was everywhere in the world.”
But no, there was no impeachment proceeding going on. There was a presidential election heating up though.
4. Morris Purchased Hunter’s Paintings as a Collector
Morris’ testimony on his purchase of Hunter’s paintings also raised some difficult-to-square facts. Morris presented his purchases as stemming from his role as an art investor. He explained to the committee that he first purchased two paintings from Hunter for a total of $40,000. To justify the $20,000-per-picture average price, Morris said that was “consistent with gallery-represented painters, you know, in general.”
However, Morris later testified that he purchased a lot consisting of 11 paintings from the gallery for a total of $875,000, which he said “is common with a starting artist.” “If you get in early and you really like them, a lot of collectors buy a large number,” Morris said.
But a purchase of 11 paintings for $875,000 averages out to nearly $80,000 per picture — four times the average price Morris paid for Hunter’s other paintings. Of course, because Hunter was using a gallerist to negotiate the $875,000 sales price, proving Morris paid an inflated value for the paintings to bestow a gift on Hunter would be difficult to prove.
“Paid” is not quite the right word here though. Morris also testified that, even now, a year after his purchase, he has not yet “paid” Hunter for the paintings. Morris claimed his business advisers and accountants are deciding how best to handle the transaction.
These details from Morris’ testimony further suggest Hunter’s painting foray had all the classic earmarks of a Biden-family influence-peddling operation.
5. The Hollywood Lawyer Donated to a Republican PAC
A final unconvincing claim came near the end of Morris’ testimony when Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., asked Morris if it would “be fair to say that you contribute mainly to Democrats.”
“No,” Morris answered, “a share of my money has gone to a PAC run by a Republican.”
Spartz continued, “So you’ve kind of split usually, but for the candidate specifically,” when Morris interjected to correct himself: “You know, I — probably more on the Democratic side. But I have, you know — Adam Kinzinger has a PAC. If you check it, my donations are to Adam’s PAC.”
“But you said Republicans,” Spartz responded, as if to punctuate his less-then-credible testimony.