House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) released a contempt of Congress resolution for Hunter Biden on Monday, just weeks after the first son dodged his deposition before the panel.
If adopted, the resolution would allow House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to “take all appropriate action to enforce the subpoena” already delivered to the 53-year-old, including referring him to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
On Wednesday, the House panel will consider the bill during a markup session before eventually holding a vote to send it to the floor.
Comer, 51, said in a report accompanying the resolution that the president’s son had broken federal law by skipping his Dec. 13 interview with the committee, which the chairman called “a critical component” of Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Hunter’s father, President Biden.
Hunter Biden, 53, appeared on Capitol Hill the same day to deliver an impassioned plea for sympathy alongside his attorney, Abbe Lowell, who is representing him against federal indictments charging illegal gun possession and tax fraud.
“For six years, I’ve been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine shouting, ‘Where’s Hunter?’ Well, here’s my answer, ‘I am here,’” the younger Biden told a crowd of reporters assembled outside the US Capitol building.
“Let me state as clearly as I can: My father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not in my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist.”
Lowell had previously demanded that his client be allowed a public hearing rather than a private deposition, saying Comer had used “closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public.”
In a Friday statement, Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) echoed those concerns and said there was “no precedent” for “holding a private citizen in contempt of Congress who has offered to testify in public, under oath, and on a day of the Committee’s choosing.”
“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,” Raskin said.
“However, the facts and the evidence all show no wrongdoing and no impeachable offense by President Biden.”
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was indicted in November 2021 by Washington, DC, US Attorney Matthew Graves for contempt of Congress after refusing to cooperate with the House January 6th Select Committee and was convicted the following year, even though he was a private citizen at the time of the Capitol riot.
Bannon is currently appealing that decision, as is fellow Trump official Peter Navarro, who was also convicted for failing to appear before the Jan. 6th Select Committee.
GOP lawmakers are investigating whether Joe Biden ever took official actions, influenced US policy or abused the public trust as a result of payments made to him or his family by foreign nationals.
Reports and bank records obtained by the House Oversight Committee show Hunter and James Biden, as well as other Biden family members, received money from interests and associates in Mexico, Kazakhstan, Romania, China, Ukraine and Russia.
There’s also evidence that then-Vice President Biden met with associates from most of those nations — after repeatedly denying doing so during his 2020 presidential campaign and since taking office in January 2021.
An FBI informant further disclosed that the owner of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings, Mykola Zlochevsky, had paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each to get a prosecutor investigating the company fired, though this claim has not been independently corroborated.
Biden, 81, boasted after leaving the Obama White House that he had pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to remove the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in exchange for $1 billion of US loan guarantees.
Congressional Democrats have insisted the ouster was motivated by concerns among US and European officials that Shokin was corrupt — but Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer disputed this in an interview last year.
The prosecutor was considered a “threat” to Burisma, which at the time was paying the then-second son up to $1 million annually to sit on its board, Archer told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview this past August.
In its report on the contempt resolution, Comer said his committee had “accumulated significant evidence suggesting that President Biden knew of, participated in, and profited from foreign business interests engaged in by his son, about which the Committees intended to question Mr. Biden during his deposition.”
“Mr. Biden’s refusal to comply with the Committees’ subpoenas is a criminal act,” he added. “It constitutes contempt of Congress and warrants referral to the appropriate United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution as prescribed by law.”