Hunter Biden Appears in Oversight Contempt Action on Capitol Hill

House Republicans will begin proceedings Wednesday to hold Hunter Biden in criminal contempt of Congress after he failed to comply with a congressional subpoena to sit for a closed-door deposition last month and the president's son made an unexpected appearance on Capitol Hill.

Both the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees, which subpoenaed the president's son for testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, held separate signs of impeachment. Hunter Biden was spotted outside an oversight committee hearing on the halls of Congress with his lawyers, creating a tense scene inside and outside the committee room as lawmakers debated what to do.

Hunter Biden sat for about 10 minutes before walking into the committee room and leaving. His lawyers gave a brief statement to reporters.

The allegations at the center of the Republican-led investigation stem from unproven claims that the president was involved in or benefited financially from his son's foreign business dealings.

Instead of sitting for his deposition, Hunter Biden held a news conference outside the Capitol and said he would only testify in a public setting. House Republicans have said they are open to holding a public hearing with the president's son, but only after he sits down for a private interview. After the younger Biden failed to appear for his deposition, House Oversight Chairman James Comer and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan issued a joint statement announcing the initiation of contempt proceedings.

The pair's markups on Wednesday began a lengthy process and underscored how difficult the Republican effort to get testimony from the president's son will be. If a contempt motion passes out of committee, it is sent to the full House for a contempt vote.

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If the House floor vote ultimately succeeds, the Justice Department, which is already pursuing two criminal cases against the president's son, will have to decide whether to prosecute the president's son for evading a congressional subpoena.

White House Press Secretary for Oversight and Investigations Ian Sams issued a statement ahead of the committee meetings, rejecting “baseless attacks” against members of the president's family and calling on Republican lawmakers to focus on other responsibilities in Congress.

“Instead of playing politics, they should be doing their jobs, funding the government and border security, and focusing on solutions that benefit the American people,” Sams said.

Ahead of the markup, Jordan told CNN he expects the contempt motion to pass, but it's unclear when it will come to the stage or how quickly the recommendation will move through the Justice Department if it does.

“Whenever Speaker Johnson wants to put it on the floor, for a floor vote, it's up to Merrick Garland and Mr. Graves,” Jordan told CNN.

As Congress returns from its winter recess this week, House Republicans are ramping up their investigations at a busy time on Capitol Hill. The meetings are scheduled to take place Wednesday at the same time as the House Homeland Security Committee moves forward with an impeachment hearing on DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorgas.

Congress is days away from a government funding deadline, but Sams stressed that House Republicans are focused on their investigations.

“House Republicans are less than ten days away from triggering a partial government shutdown that many of its far-right members are rooting for, but instead of working full-time to avoid it, they're wasting time on political stunts,” Sams said. Report. “These baseless attacks on the president's cabinet and family members will not improve the everyday lives of Americans, strengthen our border security, or improve the economy; All they can do is help hard-line House Republicans sign up Fox and Newsmax to try to distract from their administration's impotence.

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With the Biden impeachment proceeding and many Republicans still skeptical of impeaching the president, senior Republicans now believe it will be easier to target Mayorkas as the border crisis becomes a defining campaign issue.

“There are a lot of competing allegations, so it's hard to say who's leading,” Rep. Tony Gonzalez, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN.

“I think a lot of members here have lost faith in DHS,” the Texas Republican added.

House Republicans have criticized Mayorca as border crossings hit record highs, laying the groundwork for impeachment. If the Secretary of Homeland Security were to be fired, it would be an extremely rare event. Only one cabinet official in American history has been impeached — Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.

Jordan said Republicans will “find out” whether the House can pursue two impeachments simultaneously, but said he believes there is “strong, compelling evidence for both.”

This story and title have been updated to reflect additional developments.

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