The U.S. House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden formally expanded Wednesday to whether the president "corruptly sought to influence or obstruct" Congress by keeping his son Hunter Biden from attending a closed-door interview on Dec. 13, according to a letter sent to the White House Counsel’s office.
Hunter Biden had been subpoenaed to give testimony to the committee investigators behind closed doors on Dec. 13. Instead, he held a defiant public press conference outside of the Capitol, as CDM earlier reported, and refused to appear. Through his lawyers he objected to the closed session and demanded that he only have to answer questions publicly. The Committee refused to give the president's son special treatment and declined his demand. Instead, he went to the Capitol and made his own statement and reiterated that his father had nothing to do with his business deals.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) now are focusing on the comments made by Biden White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who claimed the president was aware in advance of Hunter's plan to hold the Dec. 13 press conference instead of attending the transcribed interview.
“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 letter notes.
"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," the lawmakers wrote in the letter to White House Counsel Edward Siskel.
"Such conduct could constitute an impeachable offense," they further noted.
Federal law 18 U.S.C. §1505 criminalizes the obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and congressional committees. A violation of that law carries a range of penalties from fines to five to eight years imprisonment.
The lawmakers’ letter also points out that Joe Biden's past statements about his family's business deals have proven to be false, adding more reason to investigate whether there has been a "conspiracy to obstruct" during this inquiry.
"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," the lawmakers’ letter reads. "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," they added.
The letter demands the White House turn over by Jan. 10 all documents and communications that were:
The letter sent to Biden White House Counsel Edward Siskel can be read in full here.
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