Impeachment Cloud Grows Darker: House Panel Blasts White House over Hunter Bidens’ Defiance

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The House Oversight Committee published a letter on Wednesday sent to White House Counsel Edward Siskel about Hunter Biden’s refusal to comply with not one, but two Congressional Subpoenas. It also discussed President Joe Biden’s possible involvement in the defiance by his son. The House Oversight Committee took this action as part of an ongoing impeachment investigation.

The first paragraph specifically mentions President Biden.

As part of our impeachment investigation, and in light of an official White House statement that stated that President Biden knew in advance that Hunter Biden would defy the two subpoenas from Congress, we must examine whether the President was involved in a conspiracy of obstructing a congressional proceeding.

This is a direct statement: “…whether or not the President conspired to obstruct an action of Congress.” This can be seen as a crime of impeachment. The letter continues to refer to Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary as if she had admitted that the President knew that Hunter Biden intended to ignore the subpoenas.

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press secretary, responded that President Biden “certainly knew what his son would say” on December 13 when asked if he had seen Mr. Biden make the statement. Ms. Jean Pierre declined to give any more details on the President’s actions, or whether he approved of his son defying the congressional subpoenas. Ms. Jean-Pierre’s statement, however, suggests that the president had some advance knowledge that Mr. Biden was going to choose to ignore two congressional subpoenas.

The letter mentions Hunter’s actions in part.

Hunter Biden was subpoenaed by the Committees for a December 13th, 2023 deposition. The Committees rejected Mr. Biden’s excuses for failing to comply with the terms of subpoenas and his demand for special treatment. The Committees informed Mr. Biden via his lawyer that if he failed to appear at the scheduled deposition, as required by the Subpoenas, the Committees would initiate contempt proceedings.

It would appear that the demand for special treatment violates the principle of equality under the law.

The Committee’s refusal to accept Hunter Biden as a member is described in detail later.

The subpoenas issued by the Committees required Mr. Biden to appear at the deposition on December 13. Instead, Mr. Biden and his attorney appeared at the U.S. Capitol grounds with Representative Eric Swalwell. Mr. Biden made a long public statement in front of a group of reporters, in which he addressed several issues relevant to the House impeachment investigation, such as his business activities and assertions regarding President Biden’s knowledge and “financial involvement” in these activities. He also attacked the Committee’s inquiry. Mr. Biden stated that he wouldn’t appear at the deposition, as required by subpoenas, and would only testify publicly. This was a request for special treatment which the Committees previously rejected. Biden claimed to be interested in answering questions regarding his actions but he left the Capitol grounds before taking any questions. The Committees recorded Mr. Biden’s absence at his deposition.

You can find the meat of your letter in these words.

According to the relevant section in the criminal code, it is illegal to “corruptly…endanger to influence, obstruct or impede any due and proper exercising of the power to inquire under which any inquiry or investigation is being conducted by… any committees of either House or joint committees of the Congress [.]” The same applies to anyone who “aids, abets counsels, commands or induces” a crime.

Hunter Biden’s actions are hard to see as anything other than an attempt by the House Oversight Committee to obstruct the investigation.

Given that the President knew about Hunter Biden’s plans in advance, it is difficult to see his actions as anything other than (at least) ignoring or encouraging the defiance. This could be interpreted as a combination of aiding, abetting, or counseling.

The Committee has noted (correctly), that an action for Contempt of Congress is possible, but it’s unclear what this could accomplish. Remember that in 2012 President Obama’s Attorney-General Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress, but suffered no personal or professional consequences.