The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday announced that it has issued fresh demands for information regarding a new impeachable offense: Obstruction of justice.
According to the press release, House Oversight sent a letter to White House Counsel Edward Siskel.
House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are investigating whether President Biden sought to influence or obstruct the Committees’ proceedings by preventing, discouraging, or dissuading his son, Hunter Biden, from complying with the Committees’ subpoenas for a deposition as part of the House of Representatives’ ongoing impeachment inquiry. In a letter to White House Counsel Edward Siskel, Chairmen Comer and Jordan call for all documents and communications sent or received by employees of the Executive Office of the President regarding Hunter Biden’s deposition.
“In light of an official statement from the White House that President Biden was aware in advance that his son, Hunter Biden, would knowingly defy two congressional subpoenas, we are compelled to examine as part of our impeachment inquiry whether the President engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct a proceeding of Congress,” wrote Chairmen Comer and Jordan. “Under the relevant section of the criminal code, it is unlawful to ‘corruptly . . . endeavor to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any investigation or inquiry is being had by . . . any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress[.]’ Likewise, any person who ‘aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures’ the commission of a crime is punishable as a principal of the crime.”
The Oversight Committee also provided critical background on the matter.
The House Committees on Oversight and Accountability and Judiciary issued subpoenas to Hunter Biden for a deposition to be conducted on December 13, 2023. On December 13, Hunter Biden did not appear for the deposition as required by the Committees’ subpoenas. Instead, he appeared on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol with his attorney and Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), where he made a public statement without taking any questions from the media and indicated that he would not comply with the subpoenas. Later on December 13, when asked whether President Biden had watched Hunter Biden’s statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated President Biden was “certainly familiar with what his son was going to say,” suggesting the President had some amount of advanced knowledge that his son would choose to defy two congressional subpoenas.
“The Committees have accumulated substantial evidence that Hunter Biden’s business endeavors have improperly included his father, and the President has made false claims about his knowledge and involvement in these schemes. In fact, just days before Mr. Biden was scheduled to appear for his deposition, the President claimed he had not interacted with any of his son’s business partners. This is false. The President has met with, spoken to, and received money sourced from his son’s foreign business partners. In light of this evidence, the fact that the President had advanced awareness that Mr. Biden would defy the Committees’ subpoenas raises a troubling new question that we must examine: whether the President corruptly sought to influence or obstruct the Committees’ proceeding by preventing, discouraging, or dissuading his son from complying with the Committees’ subpoenas. Such conduct could constitute an impeachable offense,” continued Chairmen Comer and Jordan.
In an Op-Ed for The Messenger, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley revealed what he called a “breathtaking mistake” by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that suggested a potential obstruction of justice charge.
In response to Hunter Biden’s midday press conference, held strategically on the Senate side of the Capitol, in which Biden announced his intention to defy a House Committee on Oversight subpoena, Jean-Pierre told reporters that the president, “The president was certainly familiar with what his son was going to say.”
Turley believes the comments may prove to be damaging. KJP’s comment, according to Turley, “suggests that the president spoke with his son before his act of contempt and discussed his statement.”
However, this might be an addition to the four charges stated by Turley in congressional testimony and an Op-Ed for The Hill. This episode, in particular, adds another potential charge of obstruction to the charges of bribery, conspiracy, and abuse of authority.
Turley explained, “In addition, President Biden has enlisted White House staff to actively push challenged accounts of his conduct and attack the House Republicans’ investigative process. Such acts could legally bootstrap prior misconduct into his presidency under abuse-of-power allegations.”
“If this latest allegation is true, the president was speaking with his son about committing a potentially criminal act of contempt,” he added. “Hunter was refusing to give testimony focused not on his own role but on his father’s potential role in the alleged influence peddling. The House can pursue evidence on that conversation and how the president may have supported his son’s effort.”
The constitutional scholar added on X, ” If Joe Biden did confer with Hunter on defying Congress, it was a breathtaking mistake. Obstruction is a potential articles of impeachment … Hunter was asked to give testimony on his father’s role in the alleged influence peddling.”
If Joe Biden did confer with Hunter on defying Congress, it was a breathtaking mistake. Obstruction is a potential articles of impeachment. https://t.co/7EUyV8fH6Q Hunter was asked to give testimony on his father's role in the alleged influence peddling. https://t.co/qvqPQwgnlt— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) December 14, 2023
Independent journalist ‘amuse’ added on X, “There is evidence that Joe Biden and Eric Swalwell obstructed Congress by conferring with Hunter regarding his decision to ignore a congressional subpoena to prevent committee lawyers from gathering testimony about his influence peddling.”
When asked by Fox News’ Peter Doocy if President Biden was aware that his son would violate the congressional subpoena, Jean-Pierre said, “I don’t have anything else to add.” The President knew what Hunter was going to say today, and look, he’s pleased of his son…how he’s repairing his life. He’s going to concentrate on…the American people. Hunter…is an ordinary citizen…”I’m just not going to get into private conversations,” NewsBusters’ Curtis Houck noted.
KJP to Doocy on whether President Biden knew his son would defy a congresional subpoena: "I don't have anything else to add. The President was familiar with what Hunter was going to say today &, you know, look, he's proud of his son…how he's rebuilding his life back. He's going… pic.twitter.com/envjQGxsEl— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 13, 2023
If Joe Biden did consult with his son about refusing to comply with a legally issued deposition, it would compound the appearance of impropriety with a charge of obstruction of justice — an impeachable offense.