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Comer, Jordan threaten to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress

Comer, Jordan threaten to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress

House Republicans are threatening to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress if he does not appear for a scheduled closed-door deposition next week as part of a subpoena.

The threat from House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) comes as the legal counsel for the president’s son, Abbe Lowell, has said that Biden is willing to sit for a public hearing but not for the private questioning.

“Contrary to the assertions in your letter, there is no ‘choice’ for Mr. Biden to make; the subpoenas compel him to appear for a deposition on December 13. If Mr. Biden does not appear for his deposition on December 13, 2023, the Committees will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings,” Comer and Jordan wrote to Lowell on Wednesday.

The letter represents an escalation of the battle between the House GOP and Biden as Comer and Jordan speed into the final stages of a multi-pronged impeachment inquiry probe into President Biden, which they aim to formalize with a vote next week.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.), the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, took a swipe at the House GOP threat by referencing Jordan’s refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Select Committee in the last Democratic-controlled Congress — another panel that Raskin sat on.

“Hunter Biden will answer questions under oath in front of the world—but unless he testifies in secret so he can be misquoted, @RepJamesComer will hold him in contempt? What a joke. Jim Jordan blew off HIS subpoena. Comer doesn’t want the truth—and can’t handle it,” Raskin said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Earlier Wednesday, Lowell sent a letter to Comer reiterating Biden’s willingness to testify at a public hearing Dec. 13 or another date this month — an offer he first made last week, in response to the subpoena request.

“He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public—a hearing would ensure transparency and truth in these proceedings,” Lowell wrote.

Lowell also pointed to previous public statements in which Comer indicated that Republicans would be happy to hear Hunter Biden’s testimony in a public setting.

“We’re in the downhill phase of this investigation now because we have so many documents, and we can bring these people in for depositions or committee hearings, whichever they choose,” Comer said during an Oct. 31 appearance on “The Benny Show” posted online, which Lowell referenced.

But Comer and other Republicans have since argued that holding only a public hearing with five-minute questioning segments divided among both Democrats and Republicans was not sufficient, and saying that a closed-door format where legal counsel can methodically go through numerous questions was necessary.

The House GOP is seeking testimony from Biden as part of an impeachment inquiry into the president, based in part on his son’s foreign business dealings and allegations and suspicions that the president may have improperly used government policy to benefit the business or improperly benefited from the foreign business dealings. The White House, as well as Hunter Biden, have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Updated at 2:18 p.m.

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