Hunter Biden would have the nation believe he is a wounded and tragic soul – a former drug addict and bad boy gone straight who is now trying to put his life back together. Perhaps he is, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to play his part in the pantomime – or, perhaps, farce – that his new life has become. In the latest act, the chief executive’s son, who really does appear to believe that the laws and rules simply do not apply to him, showed up on Capitol Hill to crash the closed-door hearing at which Republicans were considering a resolution to hold him in contempt of Congress.
Though flanked by attorneys, Biden wasn’t there to argue his case or to try negotiating with the House Oversight Committee. This was an entirely inappropriate venue for such intentions, anyway. Hunter Biden was there for the spectacle – for the publicity.
Biden’s story is that he ignored a congressional subpoena to be deposed in a private hearing because he had requested – and been denied – the chance to testify publicly. That is not entirely true. Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) had offered Hunter Biden a public hearing on the condition he sit for the closed-door deposition first – as witnesses in congressional probes usually do. There is good reason for this: During public hearings, lawmakers are granted five-minute windows to ask questions of a witness. As has been the case so often in congressional hearings, a witness who doesn’t really want to cooperate can easily gobble up much of that time with indirect answers or by trying to deflect to other topics. During private depositions there are no such time constraints, giving investigators the opportunity to solicit the information they require.
Hunter Biden clearly does not want to put himself in that situation. He would be compelled to answer questions about his father’s knowledge of, and involvement in, the very profitable influence-peddling schemes he allegedly orchestrated while Joe Biden was vice president.
Hunter Biden Flees the Scene
One Florida Democrat, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, tried to shame Republicans on the committee by suggesting that they are afraid to question Biden in public. “Who wants to hear from Hunter right now, today? Anyone? Come on,” the lawmaker said. “Who wants to hear from Hunter? Yeah, no one. So, I’m a visual learner, and the visual is clear. Nobody over there wants to hear from the witness.”
Unfortunately for Moskowitz, his bluff was called by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who had decided to use her designated time to ask Biden a question. The moment Greene’s time started, though, and before she had even managed to thank the chair for recognizing her, Hunter Biden tapped one of his attorneys, Abbe Lowell, on the arm and the trio quickly scurried out of the chamber. “Excuse me, Hunter. Apparently, you’re afraid of my words,” Greene called out as they left.
Even before that, Biden caught an earful from Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC). “You are the epitome of white privilege,” Mace told Biden, “coming into the Oversight Committee, spitting in our face, ignoring a congressional subpoena to be deposed. What are you afraid of?”
“Hunter chose a hearing where Republicans could not distort, manipulate, or misuse that testimony,” Lowell told reporters. Comer and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) had pledged to make the full transcript of Biden’s interview public.
After several hours of fraying tempers and finger-pointing, the Oversight Committee passed a resolution to hold Biden in contempt of Congress. Predictably, the members of the committee voted along party lines. It is likely to advance to the House floor for a full vote early next week. However, Hunter Biden could still kill that vote by agreeing to meet with lawmakers for a transcribed interview behind closed doors, though that seems an unlikely prospect.
If the House passes the contempt resolution, Biden will be referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.