Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, makes a statement to the press outside the U.S. Capitol about testifying publicly to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Wednesday, December 13, 2023.
Bill Clark | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
House committees released reports Monday recommending that Hunter Biden be held in contempt of Congress over what they called his “flagrant defiance” of a subpoena related to the impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden “must be held accountable for his unlawful actions,” read reports from the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.
The reports’ findings came as little surprise: Three days before they were released, the committee chairmen announced they would hold markups Wednesday and vote on the resolutions to recommend contempt charges against the president’s son.
If the Republican-led panels pass the resolutions, they will move to a vote in the full House. The chamber, which holds a slim Republican majority, can then vote to refer the matter to the Department of Justice, which will ultimately decide whether to pursue criminal charges.
Republicans initiated contempt proceedings last month, after Hunter Biden refused to sit for a closed-door deposition with congressional investigators looking into corruption allegations against the Democratic president and his family.
Biden had instead offered to testify publicly before Congress, but Oversight Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., rejected the proposal.
On the day he was scheduled to appear for the private deposition, Biden showed up outside the U.S. Capitol and railed against the Republican investigation while defending his business record.
“There’s no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business, because it did not happen,” he said in a prepared statement before departing.
Biden’s defiance “warrants referral to the appropriate United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” Comer and Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in a statement Friday announcing the upcoming markups.
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Biden, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Oversight Committee’s ranking Democrat, slammed the Republicans for pursuing a contempt finding despite Biden’s offer to give public testimony.
“Instead of taking yes for an answer, Chairman Comer has now obstructed his own hapless investigation by denying Hunter Biden the opportunity to answer all the Committee’s questions in front of the American people and the world,” Raskin said in a statement Friday.
Raskin and other Democrats have put a spotlight on Comer’s prior remarks signaling he would be open to letting Hunter Biden speak in a public hearing.
“Hunter Biden is more than welcome to come in front of the Committee,” Comer said in a Newsmax interview in September.
Comer’s critics have also accused him of refusing to publicly release transcripts from witness depositions because doing so would undercut their claims.
As his father seeks a second term in office, Hunter Biden faces a stacked legal schedule that includes two federal criminal cases on separate tax and gun-related charges.
Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges related to his possession of a handgun while being an illegal drug user. His legal team last month filed motions to dismiss those charges in federal court in Delaware.
He is set to be arraigned Thursday on nine tax-related charges in federal court in Los Angeles.