House GOP hits pause on Hunter Biden contempt vote

House GOP hits pause on Hunter Biden contempt vote

House Republicans have paused their efforts to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress, as they negotiate a new date for a closed-door interview.

The House Rules Committee will no longer tee up a contempt resolution for a floor vote during its meeting on Tuesday, two people familiar with the decision told POLITICO, contrary to Republicans’ previous plans.

A leadership aide familiar with the decision, granted anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, added that “negotiations are now underway for him to comply with the subpoena, so we are holding on the contempt vote while they work to set a date.”

The House was previously expected to vote Thursday on making that referral to the Justice Department. That would have handed the ultimate decision on whether or not the president’s son would face charges over his failure to comply with the House subpoena to U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves. Four individuals have been held in contempt of Congress during the Biden administration, and the Justice Department pursued charges against two of them.

Republicans would need near-total unity in order to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress this week. Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) is working remotely until next month as he undergoes treatment for blood cancer. He also told Republicans during a conference call on Sunday night that Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) will be absent this week as he recovers from a car crash.

The vote looked increasingly unlikely after Hunter Biden’s lawyers, in complete reversal of their prior position, alerted GOP investigators on Friday that he would comply if they issued a new subpoena. Republicans originally subpoenaed Hunter Biden last year for a deposition on Dec. 13, which he skipped and countered by demanding a public hearing.

Both GOP investigators and party leadership signaled after the letter that while they would formally keep the contempt vote on the books, their thinking would change if they could reach a deal that resulted in Hunter Biden sitting for a deposition. The House is currently scheduled to leave for a one-week recess on Friday and canceled votes on Tuesday due to inclement weather.

A spokesperson for the Oversight Committee GOP said on Tuesday that they are currently working with Hunter Biden’s attorneys to schedule his appearance.

“Negotiations are ongoing this afternoon, and in conjunction with the disruption to member travel and canceling votes, the House Rules Committee isn’t considering the contempt resolution today to give the attorneys additional time to reach an agreement,” the spokesperson added.

House Republicans view Hunter Biden as a key witness in their sprawling impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Republicans voted to formalize that inquiry late last year, even as they remain short of the votes to impeach Biden.

The GOP investigation has largely focused on the business deals of Hunter Biden and other family members. While Republicans have found evidence of Hunter Biden using his last name to boost his own influence and poked holes in previous statements by the White House and Joe Biden, they haven’t yet found direct evidence showing actions taken by Joe Biden as president or vice president were meant to benefit his family’s business arrangements.

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