In a recent development, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan have issued a stern warning to Hunter Biden. They have threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress if he refuses to appear for a closed-door deposition.
Comer and Jordan addressed a letter to Abbe D. Lowell, Hunter Biden’s defense attorney, informing him of their intent to initiate contempt proceedings if Biden fails to comply with a subpoena and appear for a deposition on December 13. The letter emphasized that Biden has no choice and that the subpoenas compel him to appear before the committees. Failure to do so will result in contempt of Congress proceedings.
According to the Congressional Research Service, criminal contempt of Congress is considered a misdemeanor federal offense for individuals who do not comply with subpoenas. Although this move doesn’t have direct legal consequences for the person refusing to comply, House lawmakers can provide a citation for contempt to federal prosecutors.
The House Oversight Committee had issued a subpoena to Hunter Biden in November, requesting his appearance for a deposition. In response, Lowell proposed that Biden testify publicly and skip the deposition. However, Comer, Jordan, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith rejected this counteroffer. They insisted that Biden must answer questions behind closed doors before testifying publicly.
This subpoena enforcement is not the first time Comer has threatened contempt proceedings. In May, he threatened to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt when the Oversight Committee sought access to an FBI FD-1023 document containing bribery allegations against Joe Biden and his son. The committee members were eventually granted permission to view the document in June, released by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley in July.
Apart from Hunter Biden, House lawmakers are also seeking testimony from James Biden, Hunter Biden’s uncle, and multiple former business associates of the first son. James Biden was expected to appear for a deposition in compliance with a subpoena but has since delayed his interview. The Oversight Committee is in communication with James Biden’s attorney, and it remains uncertain whether he will comply with the subpoena.
In parallel, special counsel David Weiss has reportedly subpoenaed James Biden as part of the ongoing Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes and firearms possession.
Additionally, following the first impeachment inquiry hearing, the Oversight Committee subpoenaed the personal and business bank records of both Hunter and James Biden in September.
In light of these developments, House Republicans are considering a floor vote to strengthen the legal authority of the impeachment inquiry by formally authorizing it.
It is important to note that Hunter Biden was indicted in November on three federal gun charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The outcome of this case is yet to be determined.