Hunter Biden skips House hearing on resolution to hold him in contempt

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, sits with his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, as he makes a surprise appearance at a House Oversight Committee meeting to vote on whether to hold Biden in contempt of Congress for failing to respond to a request for testimony. to the House last month, on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, January 10, 2024.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Hunter Biden appeared unannounced in person at a House committee hearing Wednesday to consider a resolution that would hold him in contempt of Congress for allegedly defying a subpoena demanding his testimony behind closed doors.

Accompanied by two of his lawyers, Biden appeared in a meeting room at the Rayburn House office building shortly after the House Oversight Committee met at 10 a.m. CET for a so-called markup on the resolution.

His surprise appearance — and equally abrupt departure minutes later — immediately angered members of the committee’s Republican majority.

“Yes, I’m looking at you, Hunter Biden, when I’m talking to you,” Rep. Nancy Mace, RSC, said shortly after the president’s son took his seat. “You are not above the law.

When Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., began to speak, Biden abruptly stood up and left, prompting jeers and cries of “where is he going?” from the panel.

“What a coward,” Greene said.

Democrats, meanwhile, pointed to the appearance as evidence that Biden was willing to appear before the committee — but only in public.

“The fact is that Mr. Biden showed up this morning and was willing to appear weeks ago for a public hearing that he believed was his choice,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. , he said.

He and other Democrats repeatedly pointed to previous comments by the oversight chairman, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., that they said gave Hunter Biden a chance to be impeached in public instead of behind closed doors.

Asked later by an NBC News reporter if he would testify Wednesday if called upon by the committee, Hunter Biden said, “Yes.”

Biden declined to appear for private testimony Dec. 13 on Capitol Hill as part of the Republican impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden, which centers on allegations of corruption by the president and his family.

Hunter Biden offered to testify at the public hearing instead, but Comer declined the offer.

On the day of his impeachment, Biden appeared outside the US Capitol and defended his business record while denying allegations of any illegal financial connection with his father.

“There is no evidence to support the claim that my father was financially involved in my business because that did not happen,” he said in a prepared statement before his departure.

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Comer and Chairman of the Judiciary Rep. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, filed contempt proceedings the same day. The jury heard concurrently on Wednesday morning about its own contempt order against Hunter Biden.

If the Republican panels approve the resolution at Wednesday’s meetings, it will proceed to a vote in the full House. The chamber can then vote to refer the matter to the Ministry of Justice, which will ultimately decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

Democrats called the entire scorn a distracting sideshow.

“With the shutdown looming, it would make sense that House Republicans would want to start legislating,” read a post on X, formerly Twitter, from the Judiciary Committee Democrats’ account Wednesday morning. “Instead, MAGA Republicans’ top priority is to mark a resolution of contempt against someone who has offered to testify.”

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