In a recent development involving the House Oversight Committee, Chairman James Comer, a Republican from Kentucky, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, are exerting pressure on Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, by threatening to hold him in contempt of Congress.
Hunter Biden’s refusal to testify in a closed setting
This action follows Hunter Biden’s refusal to testify in a closed setting, as requested by the committees.
Previously, Comer had issued a subpoena for Hunter Biden to appear for a deposition scheduled for December 13, explicitly stating that it was to be conducted behind closed doors.
This move aligns with the Republican-led committee’s efforts to scrutinize the activities of the president’s son, which have been a point of contention and public interest for some time.
Biden’s preference is a public hearing
However, in a twist to the ongoing saga, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, communicated last week that his client would prefer to testify in a public hearing.
Lowell’s stance was made clear in a letter sent to Comer, where he outlined Hunter Biden’s willingness to testify on the condition that it be done in a public setting.
Statement from Mr Mowell
This request for a public hearing is rooted in an attempt to ensure transparency and prevent potential manipulation or distortion of facts, as stated by Lowell: “Mr. Biden has offered to appear at a hearing on the December 13, 2023, date you have reserved, or another date this month, to answer any question pertinent and relevant to the subject matter,” Lowell wrote.
He added, “He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and time 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. We look forward to working out the schedule.”
Hunter Biden has no ‘choice’ in the matter
Responding to this, Comer and Jordan, in a firm rebuttal, asserted that Hunter Biden does not have the ‘choice’ in this matter and emphasized that he is legally compelled to appear for the closed-door deposition as per the issued subpoena.
They highlighted that failure to comply with this request could lead to contempt of Congress proceedings. “On November 8, 2023, we issued subpoenas to your client, Robert Hunter Biden, for a deposition on December 13, 2023,” they wrote.0
Comer and Jordan threaten contempt of Congress
“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,” Comer and Jordan added. “If Mr. Biden does not appear for his deposition on December 13, 2023, the Committees will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings.”
In a critical commentary, House Oversight Committee ranking member Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, criticized the Republicans’ stance on this issue. Raskin took to social media platform X to express his views, highlighting what he perceives as a double standard and a lack of desire for the truth on the part of Comer and Jordan.
Raskin lashes out at Comer and Jordan
Raskin’s tweet was pointed and direct: “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.”
He further commented, “Jim Jordan blew off HIS subpoena. Comer doesn’t want the truth—and can’t handle it.”
The situation presents a complex interplay of political dynamics, legal procedures, and public transparency. As the date for the deposition approaches, the tension between the desire for open hearings and the conditions set forth by the subpoenas remains unresolved.
The outcome of this standoff could have significant implications for congressional proceedings and public perception of the ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden’s activities.