Updated Jan 10, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Hunter Biden unexpectedly shows up at his House contempt hearing

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, flanked by Kevin Morris, left, and Abbe Lowell, right, attend a House Oversight Committee meeting on January 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. Photo: Kent Nishimura via Getty

Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday geared towards holding him in contempt of Congress.

Why it matters: The committee was trying to hold the president's son in contempt for refusing to testify at a closed-door deposition last month as part of their impeachment proceedings against President Biden.

  • Hunter Biden has repeatedly said he'd testify in public.
  • House Republicans voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry into President Biden in December to determine whether his family's domestic and international business dealings compromise U.S. national security. The GOP has produced no evidence to back these claims.

The latest: The panel and the House Judiciary Committee both voted later Wednesday along party lines to advance a resolution to hold Hunter Biden in contempt.

Driving the news: Hunter Biden walked into the hearing room Wednesday with his attorneys, Abbe Lowell and Kevin Morris, shortly after Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) gave his opening statement.

  • Comer briefly interrupted Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), his Democratic counterpart, to instruct cameras that were following Biden to move away from the front of the room.
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) pointedly asked Comer to recite committee rules around depositions, including that a stenographer must be present and that members be given three days' notice.
  • "So, just to clarify, we can't have someone just walk in," Greene responded.
  • Biden left about 15 minutes into the hearing.

What they're saying: Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) during the hearing called Hunter Biden "the epitome of white privilege, coming into the Oversight Committee, spitting in our face," adding: "You have no balls."

  • Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) then interjected: "If the gentlelady wants to hear from Hunter Biden, we can hear from him right now."
  • He added: "Let's take a vote and hear from Hunter Biden."

"I am speaking," Mace shot back. "Are women allowed to speak in here, or no?"

Zoom out: Hunter Biden's surprise appearance is part of his strategy shift to more publicly fight back against the GOP.

  • The more aggressive tactics have sometimes put him at odds with some of Biden's aides who have preferred the president's son to lie low.
  • But Biden felt that the attacks on him were hurting his father politically and fighting back would be good for both of them.

After the appearance in the hearing room, Lowell briefly read a statement to reporters as some shouted questions about crack cocaine.

  • "The Republican chairs have today commandeered an unprecedented resolution to hold someone in contempt who has offered to publicly answer all their proper questions," Lowell said. "What are they afraid of?"

Context: Hunter Biden has separately been charged with three counts related to his alleged illegal possession of a firearm, evasion of assessment, failure to file and pay taxes and false or fraudulent tax returns.

  • He has pleaded not guilty to the tax charges and is set to be arraigned on additional tax charges in January.
  • He has been open about his experiences with substance abuse.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details and background.

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