WASHINGTON — Hunter Biden arrived on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to attend in person congressional committee meetings called to hold him in contempt of Congress — an unprecedented standoff between the president's son and House Republicans on live television. As part of the impeachment inquiry against his father.
Hunter Biden was accompanied by his attorneys, Abe Lowell and Kevin Morris, and initially did not answer questions.
House Republicans on the Oversight and Judiciary Committees were holding separate committee votes Wednesday on recommending that Hunter Biden be impeached in contempt.
Hunter Biden is at odds with Republicans demanding that he be impeached behind closed doors. The president's son, who faces two separate criminal charges, pressed to testify publicly, which Republicans refused, continuing to insist that the interview be conducted in private.
During Wednesday morning's oversight committee markup, Rep. Nancy Mays, RS.C., called for the on-the-spot arrest of Hunter Biden for defying a congressional subpoena.
“Hunter Biden you were so afraid of a deposition, I think you still are today,” he said.
“Play stupid games, win stupid prizes,” he added.
Hunter Biden and his legal team walked out of the hearing shortly before Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., called him a “coward” during an oversight hearing.
Outside the chamber, Lowell said committee Republicans were motivated by “improper partisan motives.” He and his client have offered to serve on committees with Republicans on half a dozen occasions since February of last year, including Wednesday, to see “how we can provide relevant information for any proper investigation,” but their offers have been ignored. . He called the GOP subpoena for a closed-door deposition in November “a tactic used repeatedly by Republicans in their political battles to selectively leak and misrepresent what witnesses said.”
“Republican leaders today are leading an unprecedented resolution to insult someone who has offered to publicly answer all of their valid questions,” Lowell added. “The question there is, what are they afraid of?”
Asked by NBC News shortly after leaving the oversight hearing if he would testify today if asked, Hunter Biden said “yes.” He and his crew left the building.
In a separate memo of contempt for the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., noted Hunter Biden's surprise appearance on Capitol Hill, having the president's son testify publicly about his presence on the floor before the meeting went into adjournment. At the time. The motion failed on a roll call vote.
Hunter Biden did not attend the Judiciary Committee meeting.
During his presidential press conference Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said he was aware of Hunter Biden's surprise appearance and called for “accountability” in response to his violation of a “legitimate” congressional subpoena.
“So I support the oversight and judicial committee efforts to hold him in contempt,” he told reporters. “We have to do this. It's our role. It's our responsibility. We're not happy about it, it's not politics.
Biden's surprise appearance comes a day before he is set to plead not guilty in his first court appearance on separate tax charges in Los Angeles, and is the latest in an escalating back-and-forth between him and House Republicans. In correspondence with the Republican-led House Oversight Committee in the fall and at a news conference in front of the Capitol last month, Biden said he would comply with the subpoena, but only in public testimony, the quote said. The Justice Department and House Oversight leaders' own previous comments may have been public.
Biden and his lawyers have argued that allegations of illegal behavior by House Republicans are baseless and that they selectively leak or misrepresent his comments during closed-door depositions for partisan purposes. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, have said Biden should first testify behind closed doors, and in a statement released Monday, “Mr. “Biden's flagrant defiance of the committees' deposition subpoenas — while choosing to appear near the Capitol grounds to read a prepared report on the same matters — is despicable, and he must be held accountable for his illegal actions,” the reports read.
The top House Democrat on the committee, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, earlier said in a statement that there was “no precedent” for a private citizen to testify publicly and on Election Day in contempt of Congress. group.
Biden's attorney Lowell previously told NBC News in a statement: “It is clear that Republican leaders are not interested in getting the facts or they would allow Hunter to testify publicly.
“Instead, House Republicans continue to play politics by seeking an unprecedented contempt resolution against someone who, from the very first request, offered to answer all of their valid questions. What are they afraid of?”
As part of the impeachment effort, Gomer and Jordan asked the White House last month to release any communications they had with Hunter Biden's legal team, which White House counsel told Edward Siskel is trying to determine whether the president had a role in his son's decision. to defy their subpoena.