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House GOP moving forward with Hunter Biden contempt vote next week

White House quiet on Hunter Biden appearances
White House not commenting on Hunter Biden's appearances in court, Congress 05:37

Washington — House Republicans said they would move forward with a floor vote next week on holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress unless he agrees to comply with their subpoenas and sit for a closed-door deposition.

"Floor Vote Announcement: Next week the House will vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress for repeatedly defying subpoenas," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise posted on X on Friday morning. "Enough of his stunts. He doesn't get to play by a different set of rules. He's not above the law."

The announcement came two days after Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance at a meeting of the House Oversight Committee, one of two panels that voted to recommend holding him in contempt of Congress. 

House Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden's business dealings and have claimed, without providing direct evidence, that the president benefited financially from his ventures, allegations the White House has denied. The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees both subpoenaed Hunter Biden to sit for depositions, but did so before the full House voted to formally authorize an impeachment inquiry into President Biden last month.

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's attorney, argued those subpoenas were invalid since they came before the House voted to approve the inquiry. In a letter on Friday, he told Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan, the respective committee chairs, that his client would now comply with a new subpoena for testimony. 

"If you issue a new proper subpoena, now that there is a duly authorized impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden will comply for a hearing or deposition," Lowell wrote.

Comer and Jordan responded to that offer later in the day but gave no indication that they intend to reissue their subpoenas.

"While we are heartened that Hunter Biden now says he will comply with a subpoena, make no mistake: Hunter Biden has already defied two valid, lawful subpoenas," they said in a joint statement. "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."

Hunter Biden has insisted on testifying publicly, and said he was prepared to do so when he appeared at the committee meeting earlier in the week. But Republicans declined to swear him in and have insisted he sit for a closed-door deposition first. 

A successful vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress would refer the matter to the Justice Department, which would then decide whether to pursue criminal contempt charges. Republicans hold a thin majority in the lower chamber and can afford few defections.

Separately, Hunter Biden on Thursday pleaded not guilty to nine federal tax charges in federal court in California. Prosecutors allege the president's son engaged in a years-long scheme to avoid paying more than $1 million in taxes. 

Margaret Brennan contributed reporting.

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