Contempt of Congress Showdown: Hunter Biden Faces House Republicans in Unprecedented Standoff

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden, the son of the president, appeared on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to attend congressional committee meetings. The meetings were convened to hold him in contempt of Congress, marking an unprecedented standoff between Hunter Biden and House Republicans, who have been seeking his testimony as part of their impeachment inquiry into his father.

Accompanied by his attorneys Abbe Lowell and Kevin Morris, Hunter Biden remained silent in response to reporters’ questions.

The Oversight and Judiciary Committees, both comprised of House Republicans, held separate votes on Wednesday recommending that Hunter Biden be charged with contempt of Congress. The main point of contention between Hunter Biden and Republicans is the demand that he testify behind closed doors. The president’s son, who is facing two separate criminal indictments, has agreed to testify publicly, while Republicans continue to insist on closed-door testimony.

During the Oversight Committee’s markup, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina called for Hunter Biden’s immediate arrest for defying the congressional subpoena. She accused him of being too afraid to give a deposition.

Hunter Biden and his legal team left the hearing before Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia delivered remarks, referring to him as a “coward.”

Outside the chamber, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, accused committee Republicans of having “improper partisan motives.” Lowell stated that they had offered to cooperate with Republicans on six different occasions since February of last year, but their offers had been ignored. He criticized the Republicans’ subpoena for a closed-door deposition, calling it a tactic repeatedly misused for political gain.

In a separate contempt markup by the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California mentioned Hunter Biden’s unexpected appearance on Capitol Hill and proposed that the committee adjourn in order to have Hunter Biden testify in public. The motion, however, failed in a roll call vote.

Notably, Hunter Biden did not attend the Judiciary panel’s meeting.

This latest development comes just a day before Hunter Biden is set to plead not guilty at his first court appearance on separate tax charges in Los Angeles. The ongoing clash between Hunter Biden and House Republicans has been marked by correspondence and public statements. Hunter Biden has offered to comply with the subpoena by testifying in public, citing previous statements by the Judiciary and House Oversight chairmen. The Republicans, however, continue to insist on closed-door testimony.

Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, questioned the Republicans’ motivations and lack of interest in obtaining the facts. He criticized their push for an unprecedented contempt motion against his client, who has offered to answer all proper questions.

As part of the impeachment effort, House Republicans have asked the White House to provide any communications it has had with Hunter Biden’s legal team, seeking to determine whether the president played a role in his son’s defiance of the subpoena.

Hunter Biden’s appearance on Capitol Hill and the subsequent committee meetings have further intensified the ongoing clash with House Republicans. Hunter Biden’s plea of not guilty and his willingness to testify publicly continue to be significant factors in this confrontation.

This article was written by Sarah Fitzpatrick, Senior Investigative Producer and Story Editor for NBC News, and Summer Concepcion, Politics Reporter for NBC News. Contributions were also made by Rebecca Kaplan, Ryan Nobles, and Owen Hayes.