House GOP plans first step toward holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress

House GOP plans first step toward holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress

House Republicans will take a first step next week toward holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress, after he skipped a closed-door interview last month.

The House Oversight and Judiciary committees will vote Wednesday on resolutions to hold Hunter Biden in contempt, paving the way for a floor vote in which Republicans will need near unity from their increasingly narrow majority.

“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. We will not provide him with special treatment because of his last name,” Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a joint statement.

Both committees are also expected to issue a report, which hasn’t been released yet, making their case for why they believe the president’s son should be held in contempt.

Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell, in a statement, said, “It’s clear the Republican Chairmen aren’t interested in getting the facts or they would allow Hunter to testify publicly. Instead, House Republicans continue to play politics by seeking an unprecedented contempt motion against someone who has from the first request offered to answer all their proper questions. What are they afraid of?”

It’s the latest in the standoff between House Republicans and Hunter Biden, whose legal team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. Republicans will ultimately need the Justice Department to agree to enforce any referral — making it unlikely that Hunter Biden will face new charges.

Republicans subpoenaed the president’s son to appear behind closed doors for an interview on Dec. 13. Instead, Biden skipped the appearance and spoke briefly to reporters outside of the Capitol, defending his father, President Joe Biden, and reiterating that he is willing to take part in a public hearing.

Congressional Democrats, the White House and Hunter Biden allies have criticized Republicans for refusing to accept the offer for public testimony, pointing back to remarks from Comer earlier last year where he seemed open to the idea. But House Republicans have rejected holding a public hearing — unless Hunter Biden meets with them privately first — arguing that the president’s son shouldn’t dictate their subpoenas.

Republicans are months into their investigation aimed at President Joe Biden that has largely focused on the business deals of his family members. They view Hunter Biden as one of their biggest targets. They are also working to get interviews with James Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, and Rob Walker, a Hunter Biden business associate.

The contempt step comes as Republicans are nearing a decision about whether or not to pursue articles of impeachment against Joe Biden. It is far from clear they will have the votes to impeach him, even after Republicans voted to formalize their inquiry last month.

Republicans have poked holes in previous statements by Joe Biden and the White House, and they’ve found evidence of Hunter Biden using his last name to try to build his own influence. But they’ve struggled to find a smoking gun that shows actions taken by Joe Biden as president or vice president were meant to benefit his family’s business deals.

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