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US President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden | Credits: Reuters
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Hunter Biden faces contempt of Congress vote amidst impeachment investigation chaos

United States: Hunter Biden made a surprising appearance on Wednesday at a meeting in the United States House of Representatives, where Republican members were pushing for a vote to punish him in contempt of Congress for failing to testify in their impeachment investigation of his father, Democratic President Joe Biden.

The younger Biden entered the hearing without speaking to the media and sat silently in the gallery with his attorney, sparking chaos as members of the House Oversight Committee argued and chastised him for the surprise.

Allegations of Improper Profiting

“It does not matter who you are …. who your father is or your last name. Yes, I’m looking at you, Hunter Biden. You are not above the law,” Republican Representative Nancy Mace said. “Hunter Biden, you are too afraid to show up for a deposition. And you still are today.”

Representative Nancy Mace | Credits: AP Photo

Republicans blamed Biden and his family for being improperly profited from policy actions from the time when he was Vice president from 2009-2017. The White House and Hunter Biden deny wrongdoing.

Hunter Biden has his own legal issues. He is due to appear in a Los Angeles federal court on Thursday to face criminal charges of failing to pay US$1.4 million in taxes. Also, he has been charged in Delaware with lying about his drug use when purchasing a weapon. 

He has pled not guilty to the Delaware allegations. Democratic Representative Jared Moskowitz questioned why the committee would not hear the 53-year-old Biden’s testimony.

“The witness accepted the chairman’s invitation. It just so happens the witness is here,” Moskowitz said. “Let’s vote. Let’s take a vote. Who wants to hear from Hunter right now, today?”

The younger Biden left the hearing shortly after.

His attorney, Abbe Lowell, made a brief statement to reporters afterward.

Hunter Biden with his attorneys | Credits: AP Photo

“We have offered to work with the House committees to see what and how relevant information to any legitimate inquiry could be provided,” Lowell said. “Our first five offers were ignored. And then in November, they issued a subpoena for a behind-closed-doors deposition, a tactic that the Republicans have repeatedly misused in their political crusade to selectively leak and mischaracterize.”

Rejected Testimony Offers

A subpoena for Hunter Biden to testify in a closed-door deposition on December 13 as part of the investigation by the House Republican. Hunter said that he would be willing to testify publically, but his offer was rejected.

Justice Department’s Role

According to the Congressional Research Service, the whole House typically votes to direct the certification of contempt to a United States attorney after a committee vote. The Justice Department is generally responsible for enforcing contempt statutes imposed by Congress.

According to the CRS, the House has held ten people in contempt of Congress since 2008, but the Justice Department has only moved to arrest two: Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, advisors to former Republican President Donald Trump.

Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison, but he appealed. Navarro was convicted in September 2023.

According to a Congressional Research Service analysis that includes contempt resolutions dating back to 1980, no member of a serving president’s family has ever been placed in contempt of Congress. Contempt of Congress is punishable by a US$100,000 fine and one to twelve months in jail.

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