Hunter Biden Crashes House Committee Vote

WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden’s son on Wednesday made a surprise appearance at a House Oversight Committee hearing where Republicans planned to approve a resolution holding him in contempt of Congress.

Hunter Biden’s arrival served as a reminder that he has offered to testify in response to Republicans’ subpoena for his testimony ― but only in public.

Republicans have insisted he speak in a private deposition and are holding him in contempt because of his refusal. If approved by the full House, the contempt resolution would result in a request for the Justice Department to press charges.

Biden’s brief appearance threw the committee meeting into early chaos, and even after he left the proceedings repeatedly broke down or went off topic as lawmakers interrupted each other, debated the meaning of “white privilege” and argued over the use of “revenge porn” in the hearing room.

Biden arrived as the committee’s top members made their opening statements and sat in the audience, behind the witness table, occasionally smirking as Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) mocked him and said he belonged in jail.

“Who bribed Hunter Biden to be here today?” Mace said. “You are the epitome of white privilege, coming to the Oversight Committee, spitting in our face, ignoring a congressional subpoena to be deposed — what are you afraid of?”

Before being interrupted, Mace told Biden, “You have no balls.”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) noted that Biden’s appearance in the room seemed contrary to Mace’s statement.

“He’s here. Doesn’t seem to be too afraid,” Moskowitz said. “The only folks that are afraid to hear from the witness, with the American people watching, are my friends on the other side of the aisle.”

Hunter Biden, left, and his attorney Abbe Lowell attend the House Oversight and Accountability Committee meeting on whether he should be held in contempt on Jan. 10. Biden sat in the audience for about 20 minutes.
Hunter Biden, left, and his attorney Abbe Lowell attend the House Oversight and Accountability Committee meeting on whether he should be held in contempt on Jan. 10. Biden sat in the audience for about 20 minutes.

Tom Williams via Getty Images

But Biden got up and left as soon as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) started speaking. Last summer at a committee hearing, Greene displayed photos of Biden in the midst of sex acts with women who were apparent sex workers.

As he left, Greene and others shouted “aww” in mock sympathy.

“Hunter Biden is terrified of strong conservative Republican women,” Greene said. “What a coward.”

In the hallway outside of the hearing room, Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, said Biden had previously made five offers to provide “relevant information” to the investigation.

“Our first five offers were ignored, and then in November they issued a subpoena for a behind-closed-doors deposition, a tactic that the Republicans have repeatedly misused in their political crusade to selectively leak and mischaracterize what witnesses have said,” Lowell said, with Biden standing by his side.

The contempt hearing is an offshoot of the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, whom Republicans have dubiously claimed participated in his son’s foreign business deals. But Wednesday’s proceedings were emblematic of the investigation into the president, which has failed to uncover incriminating evidence while repeatedly delving into seemingly irrelevant material, such as Hunter Biden’s second career as an artist and a pickup truck he bought with his father’s help in 2018.

The main corruption allegation against the Bidens is that when he was vice president, Joe Biden benefited his son by urging Ukraine to fire a prosecutor when Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian company. State Department officials debunked the allegation in testimony over the course of 2019 and 2020; Republicans have ignored that testimony.

The major point of disagreement Wednesday was wether Biden deserved a contempt citation for refusing to show for a deposition despite his willingness to speak publicly. It’s an unprecedented situation.

Democrats repeatedly noted that several Republicans on the committee ― Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) ― faced little consequences for blowing off subpoenas in 2022 from a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Perry said the Jan. 6 committee “was nothing more than a Soviet show trial in America,” and that therefore Republicans could ignore its subpoenas.

Later, Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) took issue with Mace’s “white privilege” accusation against Biden.

“It was a spit in the face ― at least of mine as a Black woman ― for you to talk about white privilege looks like,” Crockett said, noting the “lack of diversity” among elected Republicans and their dubious claims of a two-tier justice system that persecutes conservatives.

Crockett added, “Let me tell you why nobody wants to talk to you behind closed doors ― because y’all lie.”

At one point, the hearing stopped for several minutes as the committee’s chairman, James Comer (R-Ky.), and its top Democrat, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), huddled with staff on the question of whether Greene could speak out of turn to address whether she had previously shown “revenge porn” of Hunter Biden. As they talked, Moskowitz held up a giant photo of Donald Trump with the infamous sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein.

Greene promised that the poster she’d brought on Wednesday was “not pornography” but the committee moved on.

Referring to the general disarray during his speaking time, Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.) said, “This is the reason why we want to have a deposition.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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