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House Republicans release report recommending Hunter Biden be held in contempt of Congress

In World
January 09, 2024

House Republicans on the Judiciary and Oversight Committees released their report Monday recommending that the president’s son Hunter Biden be held in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to appear for a closed-door transcribed interview as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

The two committees also released resolutions that will be marked up in committee hearings Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET. If the resolutions pass the committees, they will then be allowed to be voted on by the full House. The House can then refer the recommendation to the Justice Department, which would ultimately decide whether the president’s son should be criminally charged.

In their reports, the committee’s chairmen, Reps. James Comer, R-Ky., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, outline their case for holding Hunter Biden in contempt. They said he was presented with a subpoena requiring him to appear for a closed-door deposition and was provided an opportunity to work with them to find a time that would work best with his schedule. But instead, he made no effort to comply with their request. On the day of the deposition, Hunter Biden held a press event in front of the Capitol but took no questions.

Comer and Jordan argue that his actions were unlawful and that he should be held accountable.

“Mr. Biden’s flagrant defiance of the Committees’ deposition subpoenas — while choosing to appear nearby on the Capitol grounds to read a prepared statement on the same matters — is contemptuous, and he must be held accountable for his unlawful actions,” the reports read.

Hunter Biden’s legal team had pushed back on the committee’s request to appear behind closed doors, saying their client was only willing to answer questions in a public setting. In letters to the chairmen, his legal team contended that the Republican-led committees would release excerpts of the closed-door testimony in small batches that lacked proper context in an effort to damage the president politically.

In response to Hunter Biden’s offer to testify publicly, the Republican chairmen of the committees said they would provide him that opportunity under the condition that he testify behind closed doors first.

When the committee last week announced its intention to mark up the contempt resolution, Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, said his client was not in contempt because he had offered to testify in public.

“It’s clear the Republican Chairmen aren’t interested in getting the facts or they would allow Hunter to testify publicly,” Lowell said in a statement. “Instead, House Republicans continue to play politics by seeking an unprecedented contempt motion against someone who has from the first request offered to answer all their proper questions. What are they afraid of?”

Reached for comment Monday, the office of Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., ranking member of the Oversight Committee, pointed to the congressman’s statement last week in response to Comer’s announcement that the panel will vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress.

In the statement, Raskin said “there is no precedent” for the House to hold a private citizen in contempt of Congress who has offered to testify under oath publicly and on a day the committee chose.

“Chairman Comer does not want Hunter Biden to testify in public, just as he has refused to publicly release over a dozen interview transcripts, because he wants to keep up the carefully curated distortions, blatant lies, and laughable conspiracy theories that have marked this investigation,” he added. “However, the facts and the evidence all show no wrongdoing and no impeachable offense by President Biden.”

The markup of the report is set to happen a day before Hunter Biden is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Los Angeles on nine federal tax-related charges, including the felonies of filing a false tax return and tax evasion. The charges were brought by special counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee who previously served as U.S. attorney in Delaware and has been overseeing the federal investigation into the president’s son.

The report is the latest episode in the battle between Hunter Biden’s team and House Republicans over his cooperation in the GOP’s sweeping impeachment inquiry into the president. Comer and Jordan have argued that Hunter Biden has engaged in foreign business dealings that were connected to his father, but Republicans have not provided any concrete evidence supporting their assertions that the president personally benefitted from his son’s businesses.

Comer and Jordan late last month demanded that the White House provide any communications it has had with Hunter Biden’s legal team in an escalation of their impeachment inquiry into the president. In a letter to Edward Siskel, assistant to the president and White House counsel, obtained by NBC News, the GOP chairmen said they are seeking to determine whether the president played a role in his son’s decision to defy a congressional subpoena to appear for a closed-door deposition.

The push to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress comes after Jordan defied a congressional subpoena by the House Jan. 6 Committee. The panel was interested in asking Jordan about his coordination with the Trump White House in their efforts to stand in the way of certification of the 2020 election.

Jordan, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, was one of the few people who spoke with the then-president on the day of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. The GOP congressman has never detailed what he discussed with Trump on that day. Jordan never appeared for a closed-door deposition by the committee. Instead, he responded to their requests with several letters asking questions about what they were in search of. The Jan. 6 Committee ultimately never pushed to hold Jordan in contempt.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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