By Zachary Stieber
A top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives is prepared to take President Joe Biden’s son to court if he refuses to appear for a deposition.
“Absolutely,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said on Dec. 1 when asked if he was prepared to take Hunter Biden to court.
Mr. Comer recently issued subpoenas for President Biden’s son and brother as part of the House’s investigation into the family’s business dealings.
The House launched an impeachment inquiry into the president under former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), even though there was no vote. Republicans are planning to vote on the matter soon, as was done against former President Donald Trump under former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“I suspect that the House of Representatives will formally vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry. This is the exact same process that Pelosi took during her impeachment,” Mr. Comer said. “And they’re not going to be able to have a leg to stand on in court if they try to defy our subpoenas.”
Mr. Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, was speaking during an appearance on “Just the News, No Noise.”
Mr. Biden will testify, but only in public, his lawyer Abbe Lowell suggested in a recent letter to Mr. Comer.
“A public proceeding would prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements,” Mr. Lowell said.
The subpoena requires Mr. Biden to appear in Washington on Dec. 13. Republicans say that appearance is meant to happen behind closed doors.
“We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date,” Mr. Comer told The Epoch Times in an email.
In their reply on Friday, Mr. Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the House Judiciary Committee chairman, told Mr. Lowell that Mr. Biden’s deposition will take place “in a deposition setting” or in private.
That has been consistent practice across both Republican and Democrat majorities in the House, they noted.
“Mr. Biden’s attempt to avoid sitting for a deposition pursuant to the terms of the subpoenas—by offering instead to testify at a public hearing—amounts to a demand that he receive special treatment from the committees,” the congressmen said. “Mr. Biden will not succeed in attempting to dictate to the committees how they conduct their investigation.”
A transcript of the deposition will be released at a later time, the Republicans said.
Republicans say the evidence they’ve uncovered in the investigation so far, including witness testimony and bank records, necessitates further exploration by asking questions of Mr. Biden, the president’s brother, and former associates of the pair.
The evidence includes one witness saying President Biden would call his son while his son was with business partners and speak to the partners and an FBI document recounting how a confidential source gathered information indicating a Ukrainian company bribed Mr. Biden and President Biden.
Mr. Biden “is the key witness to all of the Biden crimes,” Mr. Comer said Friday. “So the subpoena called for him to show up in this office on Dec. 13 for a deposition. I expect to see Hunter Biden in this office for a deposition.”
Mr. Lowell’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Some people who defied subpoenas from the House have in recent years been convicted of contempt of Congress, including Peter Navarro, a former adviser to President Trump.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee said that Republicans should let Mr. Biden testify in public.
“Why can’t GOP Oversight take ‘yes’ for an answer and let the American people hear the truth from Hunter Biden themselves?” they wrote on Friday.
The White House has criticized the investigation by reiterating claims that the president was not involved in the business of family members. Much of the business was conducted while President Biden was vice president.
A lawyer for James Biden, President Biden’s brother, has also said that allegations about money sent from his wife to the president labeled as a loan repayment was common practice and that nothing wrong was done.