House Republicans argued Friday that the latest indictment of Hunter Biden on federal tax charges bolsters the need to approve an impeachment inquiry resolution into President Joe Biden, which is planned for a floor vote as early as next week.
The resolution references committee probes into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, which were central to the indictment unveiled late Thursday in California. Prosecutors allege a Hunter Biden scheme to avoid paying more than $1 million in income taxes from 2016 through 2019.
“Now that Hunter Biden is being charged for felony criminal activity related to the family business in which Joe Biden himself was aware and from which he benefited, Americans deserve more answers,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo.
“These charges further confirm the need for Congress to move forward with an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden in order to uncover all the facts for the American people to judge,” Smith said.
The indictment also comes amid a showdown between committee chairmen and the younger Biden over a subpoena to appear for a congressional deposition on Dec. 13, part of an investigation into GOP allegations that he was involved in a web tying the Biden family to foreign money.
House Republicans have for months sought to link Hunter Biden’s business dealings with his father as part of a wide-ranging probe into alleged influence peddling by members of the president’s family and Biden himself while he was in private life as well as when he served as a senator and vice president.
House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., in a statement Thursday argued that investigators should have gone further and could have uncovered payments that went to President Joe Biden himself.
“Unless U.S. Attorney Weiss investigates everyone involved in the Bidens’ fraud schemes and influence peddling, it will be clear President Biden’s DOJ is protecting Hunter Biden and the big guy,” Comer’s statement said.
Speaker Mike Johnson said this week that House GOP leaders need more authorities to obtain additional documents and testimony, which would be unlocked if the full House votes to formally bless the impeachment probe.
Comer, Smith and House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, issued an impeachment inquiry memorandum in September that has served as the basis for the latest impeachment push.
The memorandum alleges a broad effort by President Biden and members of his family to cash in on their influence, and it frequently cites Hunter Biden’s dealings with companies such as Ukrainian energy firm Burisma and Chinese energy company CEFC. Federal prosecutors in the indictment say Hunter Biden engaged in a variety of international business deals, including with Burisma and CEFC, a book deal, consulting and other ventures that he did not pay taxes on.
Hunter Biden allegedly set up a U.S.-based company to handle his income and pay taxes properly but instead circumvented it for years by directly withdrawing the funds. The indictment alleged that Hunter Biden also falsified records and submitted fraudulent tax returns to avoid paying the taxes he owed.
The charges were brought by the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware, David Weiss, a Trump appointee whom U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland now has made a special counsel over the case.
In a statement, Hunter’s attorney Abbe David Lowell accused Weiss of bowing to “Republican pressure” to file unconstitutional gun charges and said he has now filed nine new charges “when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors.”
“Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought,” Lowell said.
In June, Hunter Biden initially agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax evasion charges and enter into a pretrial diversion agreement on a gun charge. That plea deal fell apart amid scrutiny from congressional Republicans and the presiding judge in the case.
Weiss unveiled a separate indictment against Hunter Biden in October in Delaware, charging him with three gun-related offenses. Biden has pleaded not guilty, and the case is still pending.
It’s unclear whether the latest charges affect the congressional subpoena for Hunter Biden to sit for a deposition. Lowell has instead said the younger Biden is willing to testify at a public hearing and that such a public proceeding would “prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements.”
House Republicans have said they will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings if he doesn’t appear for the deposition.