The biggest oversight dispute of this Congress may end in an anti-climactic no-show today. All eyes are on whether President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, will appear for his scheduled behind-closed-doors testimony before the House Oversight and Judiciary committees.
This comes the same day that the House is scheduled to vote on a resolution formally authorizing an impeachment inquiry into the president. Despite loud complaints from the White House and Democratic leaders, it looks like Speaker Mike Johnson and GOP leaders have corralled enough moderate Republicans to pass the resolution.
But don’t hold your breath for any explosive testimony by Hunter Biden.
Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, has insisted that he’s only willing to allow his client to testify publicly to avoid potential misrepresentations of what is said. Top House Republicans have rejected Lowell’s attempt to dictate how the younger Biden will testify, arguing a private deposition is necessary before any public session.
The takeaway? Expect the bickering over Hunter Biden’s compliance with the House GOP subpoena to continue for the foreseeable future. And get ready for possible contempt proceedings against the president’s son.
Representatives for Lowell didn’t respond to requests for comment on whether Hunter Biden would appear.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told us Tuesday that he’s “definitely considering” holding Hunter Biden in contempt if he doesn’t show up. Jordan said the Oversight and Judiciary counsels have not had success talking to Lowell.
House GOP investigators have zeroed in on Hunter Biden’s conduct as a central focus of their presidential impeachment inquiry. Republicans are trying to connect Hunter Biden’s lucrative overseas business dealings with official actions Biden took as vice president from 2008-16.
To date, Republicans haven’t uncovered any conclusive evidence linking the elder Biden to any impeachable offenses.
Throughout the year, House Republicans have disclosed that Biden’s involvement with his son’s deals went further than previously known. Testimony from former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer revealed that Hunter Biden would regularly place the then-vice president on speaker phone with other business partners. But Archer insisted the conversations never touched on business itself.
Republicans subpoenaed scores of Hunter Biden’s bank records earlier this fall in an attempt to dig into his finances. They uncovered payments between a Hunter Biden-linked bank account and his father’s bank account. The White House said these were payments related to a truck Hunter Biden bought.
Even as the uncertainty surrounding Hunter Biden’s appearance swirls, House Oversight and Judiciary committee staffers are prepping for the testimony. GOP aides have cameras set up to film the potential deposition and lawyers have prepared hundreds of questions to ask the younger Biden.
Hunter Biden, of course, is the focus of a special counsel investigation spearheaded by U.S. Attorney David Weiss. Weiss has already returned separate indictments against Biden for tax and gun charges.
House Republicans have also subpoenaed Joe Biden’s brother, James Biden, to appear for a private testimony. James Biden was scheduled to testify on Dec. 6 but hasn’t appeared yet. James Biden’s lawyers have been in contact with Oversight Committee staff on the subpoena.
— Max Cohen