Hunter Biden on Friday argued that subpoenas served on him by House Republicans are invalid, his latest attempt to fight a contempt of Congress lawsuit that Republicans are pursuing against him as part of the impeachment inquiry into his father.
In a letter to Congress, Mr. Biden's attorney, Abe Lowell, argued that the subpoenas carry no legal weight because they were approved before the House voted to open a criminal investigation against President Biden.
“I am writing to inform you (if you have not already) that your subpoenas are legally invalid and cannot form a legal basis to proceed with your misguided and impermissible contempt action,” Mr. Lowell Representative James R. wrote to Comer. Republican of Kentucky, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.
Mr. respectively. Qamar and Mr. Oversight and Judiciary Committees headed by Jordan, the younger Mr. Biden was served with subpoenas in November, but the full House did not approve an investigation until more than a month later, in mid-December. .
Republicans in 2019 are former President Donald J. When a similar approach was used in the first impeachment trial against Trump, they cried foul.
In an attempt to solve the problem, Mr. Their resolution authorizing an impeachment trial against Biden gave precedential approval to subpoenas already issued.
But Mr. Lowell wrote that's not enough, and cited a 2020 opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that a “subpoena first, criminal investigation resolution second” approach is improper.
“If you issue a new formal subpoena, now that there is a formally authorized impeachment hearing, Mr. Biden will comply with the hearing or deposition,” Mr. Lowell wrote.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, pointed to the report as urging Republicans to drop the defamation case against Hunter Biden. He referred to Mr Jordan said in a recent radio interview Mr. If Biden agrees to testify, Republicans will not move forward with a contempt vote.
“Hunter Biden is giving Republicans exactly what they're asking for,” Mr. Ruskin said in a statement. “It's time for Chairs Qamar and Jordan to stop this truly ridiculous and wasteful act of contempt and finally take yes for an answer, as Chair Jordan has already said he would 'of course'.”
But Mr. Republicans, who plan to vote in the full House next week on contempt charges against Biden, have said he has already violated valid subpoenas and have no intention of delaying action to punish him for failing to comply.
“For now, the House of Representatives will move forward with holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress until he can confirm a date for him to appear for personal testimony in accordance with his legal obligation,” Mr. Qamar and Mr. Jordan said. In a joint statement. “We will work to schedule a deposition date, and we will not tolerate any additional stunts or delays by Hunter Biden.”
Mr. He has repeatedly appeared unannounced on Capitol Hill to demonstrate his willingness to testify publicly at a hearing, but said he declined to do so in a private setting.
Mr. Trump said he was worried that Republicans would leak parts of his testimony out of context in an effort to hurt him legally and damage his father politically. Biden said. Republicans say Hunter Biden fears a lengthy interrogation by staff lawyers and prefers the partisan drama and circus atmosphere that often attends politically charged congressional hearings.
On Wednesday, both the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight Committee voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.
Mr. Comer said in an interview that he was confident the contempt citation would pass the full House, which is scheduled to take up Thursday, but given the many GOP vacancies and tight control of the party, he would need every Republican. Participate.
“If everyone is here, we have the votes,” he said.
If the full House approves the contempt citation, federal prosecutors must decide whether to pursue criminal charges. Criminal contempt charges carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Hunter Biden is already under federal indictment facing charges of tax crimes related to his foreign business interests, including companies and shareholders in Ukraine and China. He pleaded not guilty Thursday during a hearing in Los Angeles, and a judge set a tentative trial date for June.
The Republican impeachment inquiry is seeking evidence that her father was improperly involved in his foreign business activities, but so far they have not produced any.