(Bloomberg) -- House Republicans are threatening to hold the president’s son, Hunter Biden, in contempt of Congress if he doesn’t show up for closed-door questioning by congressional investigators.
Hunter Biden, whose overseas business dealings are at the heart of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, has offered to testify publicly rather than appear under subpoena for a private Dec. 13 deposition, as he has been subpoenaed to do.
But House Oversight Chairman James Comer and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan demand the questioning happen behind closed doors. They’ve said Hunter Biden’s demands amount to a “request for special treatment” and an attempt to “bully” Congress.
“If Mr. Biden does not appear for his deposition Dec. 13, 2023, the committee will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings,” the two chairmen wrote in a Wednesday letter.
There was no immediate response through a spokesman for Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, or the White House.
When the House or Senate believes it’s being wrongly rebuffed, the committee or committees involved can recommend the entire chamber vote to hold a person in contempt of Congress, a misdemeanor that can ultimately result in jail time and fines. Congress, however, must meet certain legal requirements for courts to enforce subpoenas, including that the investigation relates to true legislative purposes.
Republican investigators have turned up evidence Hunter Biden used his family name to secure business deals and raised questions about the president’s past statements about his knowledge of his son’s activities. But they have not found proof the president used his government positions to further his family’s business ventures.
Lowell reiterated in a letter to the two chairman earlier Wednesday that his client wants a public hearing “because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public.”
Comer and Jordan have said the deposition would be videotaped and a transcript released.
The White House previously called on House Republicans to withdraw subpoenas and interview requests related to their impeachment push, calling the effort an illegitimate, politically motivated effort to damage Biden ahead of the 2024 election.
--With assistance from Christian Hall and Jordan Fabian.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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