Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, sits with his attorney Abbe Lowell as he makes a surprise appearance at a House Oversight Committee markup and meeting to vote on whether to hold Biden in contempt of Congress for failing to respond to a request to testify to the House last month, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2024.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Hunter Biden showed up in person, unannounced, at a House committee hearing Wednesday to consider a resolution to hold him in contempt of Congress for allegedly defying a subpoena demanding his closed-door testimony.
Biden, accompanied by two of his attorneys, appeared in the hearing room in Rayburn House Office Building shortly after the House Oversight Committee convened at 10 a.m. ET for a so-called markup on the resolution.
His surprise appearance — and equally sudden departure a few minutes later — immediately stoked anger from members of the committee’s Republican majority.
“Yes, I’m looking at you, Hunter Biden, as I’m speaking to you,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., said shortly after the president’s son sat down. “You are not above the law.”
As Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., began to speak, Biden abruptly got up and left, prompting scoffs and cries of “where’s he going?” from the panel.
“What a coward,” Greene said.
Democrats, meanwhile, pointed to the appearance as evidence that Biden was willing to appear before the committee — but only in a public setting.
“The fact of the matter is Mr. Biden showed up this morning, and was willing to show up weeks ago to appear at a public hearing, which he was led to believe was his option,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said.
He and other Democrats repeatedly referenced prior comments from Oversight Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., that they say gave Hunter Biden the option to be deposed in public instead of behind closed doors.
When an NBC News reporter asked afterward if he would testify today if called to do so by the committee, Hunter Biden replied, “Yes.”
Biden had refused to appear for a private deposition on Dec. 13 on Capitol Hill as part of Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden, which centers on allegations of corruption by the president and his family.
Hunter Biden offered instead to testify in a public hearing, but Comer rejected that proposal.
On the day his deposition was set to occur, Biden appeared outside the U.S. Capitol and defended his business record while denying accusations of any wrongful financial link to his father.
“There’s no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business, because it did not happen,” he said in a prepared statement before departing.
Comer and Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, initiated contempt proceedings.
If the Republican-led panels pass the resolutions in Wednesday’s sessions, they will move to a vote in the full House. The chamber can then vote to refer the matter to the Department of Justice, which will ultimately decide whether to pursue criminal charges.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, which was holding a simultaneous hearing Wednesday on its own contempt resolution against Hunter Biden, have slammed the contempt effort as a distracting sideshow.
“With a shutdown imminent, it would make sense that House Republicans would want to start legislating,” read a post on X from the minority’s account Wednesday morning. “Instead, the highest priority for MAGA Republicans is marking up a contempt resolution for someone who offered to testify.”