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House panels set contempt of Congress votes on Hunter Biden

The president's son did not comply with congressional subpoenas for a closed-door deposition

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, is seen after making a statement during a Dec. 13 news conference outside the Capitol about testifying publicly to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, is seen after making a statement during a Dec. 13 news conference outside the Capitol about testifying publicly to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two Republican-controlled House committees said they plan to vote next week on whether the chamber should hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress for declining to appear for a closed-door deposition.

House Republicans swiftly condemned President Joe Biden’s son last month when he failed to appear before lawmakers. Instead, Hunter Biden came to Capitol Hill and challenged the lawmakers to a public hearing.

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Accountability Committee announced separate markups Wednesday on holding Hunter Biden in contempt.

House Oversight Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., said in a statement Friday that the committee had planned to question the younger Biden but he “blatantly defied two lawful subpoenas.”

“Hunter Biden’s willful refusal to comply with our subpoenas constitutes contempt of Congress and warrants referral to the appropriate United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” Comer said. “We will not provide him with special treatment because of his last name.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said on social media: “The American people expect and demand accountability and [House Republicans] will deliver this.”

The scheduled markups are the latest in a fierce back-and-forth between Hunter Biden and House Republicans, who have been investigating alleged influence peddling from Hunter Biden when Joe Biden served as vice president. Republicans have aimed to connect the president with his son’s business dealings.

An attorney for Hunter Biden has argued that a proceeding open to the public would avert any manipulated transcripts, selective leaks and one-sided press statements.

Last month, Hunter Biden appeared outside the Capitol building on the Senate side and criticized conservatives, arguing that they have invaded his privacy and impugned his character.

“Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry or hear what I have to say. What are they afraid of? I’m here. I’m ready,” he said.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight and Accountability Committee, argued in a statement Friday that Comer had urged Hunter Biden to show up at a committee hearing. Raskin said the younger Biden agreed.

“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.

The only two contempt of Congress charges brought in the last decade, against former Trump aides Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon, resulted in convictions. Bannon has appealed his conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Michael Macagnone contributed to this report.

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