House GOP plows ahead with Hunter Biden contempt vote
Top House Republicans said Friday they plan to move forward with a vote on holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress despite an offer from his legal team to sit for the closed-door deposition GOP lawmakers have demanded.
Why it matters: It would be the first time Republicans have voted to hold a committee witness in contempt since taking power last year and launching a vast array of investigations targeting President Biden and his administration.
Driving the news: In a schedule sent out on Friday, the office of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the contempt resolution is set to be voted on Thursday.
- "Next week the House will vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress for repeatedly defying subpoenas," Scalise said in a post on X.
- "Enough of his stunts. He doesn't get to play by a different set of rules. He's not above the law."
The backdrop: The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, which are investigating the finances and business dealings of President Biden, moved to hold his son in contempt after he refused to sit for a closed-door deposition.
- In a statement outside the Capitol just as the deposition was scheduled to begin, Hunter Biden instead offered to speak at a public hearing, alleging Republicans of "distorted" comments made in depositions.
- Republicans on the Oversight Committee said they were further rankled by Hunter Biden making a surprise appearance at their markup on the contempt resolution.
The latest: Hunter Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell sent Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) an eight-page letter on Friday arguing that their subpoena was invalid because it was issued before the House voted to formalize the impeachment inquiry.
- "You have not explained why you are not interested in transparency and having the American people witness the full and complete testimony of Mr. Biden at a public hearing," Lowell wrote.
- If the committee issues a "new proper subpoena, now that there is a duly authorized impeachment inquiry," he said, "Mr. Biden will comply for a hearing or deposition. We will accept such a subpoena."
The other side: Comer and Jordan responded in a statement saying they were "heartened that Hunter Biden now says he will comply with a subpoena."
- They added he has "already defied two valid, lawful subpoenas."
- "For now, the House of Representatives will move forward with holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress until such time that Hunter Biden confirms a date to appear for a private deposition in accordance with his legal obligation," they said.
- The two chairmen added they "will not tolerate any additional stunts or delay from Hunter Biden" as they work to schedule a deposition date.
What we're watching: House Republicans appear to be mostly on board with holding Biden in contempt, but whether the Justice Department actually prosecutes him is an open question.
- The DOJ acted on just two of the four contempt referrals passed last Congress over non-compliance with Jan. 6 select committee subpoenas.
Axios' Alex Thompson contributed reporting for this story.