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House GOP details case for Hunter Biden contempt of Congress

House committees ready votes Wednesday over president‘s son missing deposition

A nameplate for Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, appears in the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing room in December after the committee demanded he testify at a closed-door deposition.
A nameplate for Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, appears in the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing room in December after the committee demanded he testify at a closed-door deposition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans outlined their contempt of Congress case against Hunter Biden in documents released Monday, stating the president’s son flouted congressional subpoenas by being a no-show at a closed-door deposition and wants “special treatment” over how he gives testimony.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee and House Judiciary Committee, ahead of votes set for Wednesday, unveiled a resolution and report to recommend that the House hold the president’s son in contempt.

The committee votes are scheduled to take place about a month after Hunter Biden did not comply with a subpoena to appear for the deposition but instead came to Capitol Hill and challenged the lawmakers to a public hearing.

The Oversight Committee document states that the panel “need not and will not accede to Mr. Biden’s demand for special treatment with respect to how he provides testimony.”

That report describes how the committees sought to address concerns from Hunter Biden’s counsel by assuring him that the deposition would be recorded via video and that a transcript would be released shortly after the sitting.

But Hunter Biden’s attorney, the report said, did not acknowledge their effort.

“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 report said.

The committee report says that Hunter Biden’s testimony is a key part of the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. House Republicans have been investigating alleged influence peddling from Hunter Biden when Joe Biden served as vice president, with conservatives seeking for months to connect the president with his son’s business dealings.

Despite launching the impeachment inquiry, House Republicans have produced no evidence so far that definitively proves President Biden took bribes in exchange for official actions.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, in an interview with CBS that aired over the weekend, said there has not been “a determination that impeachment is going to happen here.”

“But we have to take those next necessary steps, get those remaining depositions and those documents to be able to uncover the remainder of the truth,” Johnson said.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight and Accountability Committee, argued in a statement Friday that Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., has obstructed his own investigation by refusing Hunter Biden the opportunity to answer questions in a public forum. Comer had even urged Hunter Biden to show up at a committee hearing, Raskin argued.

In recent Congresses, it’s been a consistent practice to initially receive testimony through a deposition, a process that can include hourlong periods of questioning and allow the opportunity for direct and cross-examination, according to the House Oversight report.

The committee argued that depositions lead to a “deeper understanding of the matter and more fulsome assessment of the relevant facts.” Open hearings, by contrast, often involve each member having a limited amount of time, such as five minutes, to make statements or solicit answers.

Either way, the report states, it’s for the committees to pick their investigative methods.

“In no uncertain terms, Mr. Biden has no valid reason for failing to comply with the Committees’ duly authorized subpoenas,” the report said.

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