Advertisement

House Oversight Committee subpoenas Hunter and James Biden

The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Hunter and James Biden, President Joe Biden’s son and brother, the panel announced Wednesday, setting up a highly anticipated showdown as House Republicans continue to search for whether the President committed an impeachable offense in connection to his family’s foreign business dealings – a high bar they have yet to meet.

The Republican-led panel also said it had subpoenaed a business associate of the Biden family, Rob Walker, and requested voluntary interviews with a list of individuals including Sara Biden, James’ Biden’s wife, Hallie Biden, the widow of the president’s oldest son, Beau Biden who Hunter Biden was romantically involved with, and Tony Bobulinski, another business associate of the President’s son.

Wednesday’s subpoenas are the first time the panel has directly subpoenaed members of the Biden family and come as House Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees are focusing on a list of high-profile interviews they want to conduct before wrapping up their impeachment inquiry into the president.

The subpoenas, signed by House Oversight Chairman James Comer of Kentucky, set Hunter Biden’s deposition for December 13 and James Biden’s deposition for December 6. Walker’s deposition is scheduled for November 29.

In the letters seeking voluntary cooperation from members of the Biden family, Comer and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan wrote, “The committees have identified you as possession information relevant to their investigation and seek your testimony regarding these and other related topics. This request is made pursuant to that inquiry.”

But even as their endgame comes into focus, it’s unclear how long the effort will take or whether House Republicans leading the effort will be able to convince enough of their GOP colleagues that Biden himself committed any high crimes or misdemeanors, which still remains a key hurdle.

Abbe Lowell, counsel for Hunter Biden, responded to the subpoena announcement by calling it “another political stunt aimed at distracting from the glaring failure of Rep. Comer and his MAGA allies to prove a single one of their wild and now discredited conspiracies about the Biden family.”

“Nevertheless, Hunter is eager to have the opportunity, in a public forum and at the right time, to discuss these matters with the Committee,” Lowell said.

James Biden’s lawyer Paul J. Fishman responded to the subpoena announcement with a statement that said, “There is no justification for this subpoena.”

“After a long, desperate search for any financial transaction between Jim Biden and his brother, including an unnecessary and intrusive review of Jim’s private banking records, the Committee has resorted to criticizing two loans that Jim received when his brother was no longer in public office and not even a candidate for the Presidency,” Fishman said. “Those same bank documents clearly show that Jim repaid both loans within weeks.”

He added, “There is nothing more to those transactions, and there is nothing wrong with them. And Jim Biden has never involved his brother in his business dealings.”

The White House, who has rejected Comer’s probe at every turn, released a memo going after the panel’s latest move to subpoena members of the Biden family, framing them as the result of Comer caving to the demands of right wing Republicans.

“With just over a week to go until House Republicans may again thrust the country into a harmful and chaotic government shutdown, the most extreme voices in their party like James Comer are trying to distract from their repeated failures to govern,” White House spokesman Ian Sams wrote.

He continued, “Instead of using the power of Congress to pursue a partisan political smear campaign against the President and his family, extreme House Republicans should do their jobs.”

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign responded to Comer’s subpoenas by tying them to Tuesday’s election results.

“Last night, voters across the country rejected MAGA Republicans’ extreme agenda. Instead of any introspection, James Comer has come up with a new political stunt to try to distract from Republicans’ embarrassing defeats, their toxic agenda, and their push to ban abortion nationwide,” Biden campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa told CNN. “Voters see right through these stunts and last night was a reminder the American people are looking for leaders focused on tackling the issues that matter - lowering costs, protecting freedoms, and keeping our communities safe.”

The top Democrat on the Oversight panel, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, said in a statement to CNN, “I keep hearing from GOP colleagues that their plan is to create a ‘master narrative’ that would equal what the January 6 Select Committee did. But that ‘master narrative’ was based on finding the truth. This ‘master narrative’ is about constructing a lie. And, yet, the truth is a resilient, stubborn thing, and the facts here are clear: there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden.”

Republicans have been pouring over Hunter Biden’s bank records and foreign business dealings for months and have received thousands of bank wires and documents as the result of their subpoenas to banks for information. They have said that based on the information they have received, members of the Biden family have cumulatively received over $24 million from foreign nationals over approximately five years, including from countries like China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Kazakhstan.

“The House Oversight Committee is going to bring in members of the Biden family and their associates to question them on this record of evidence,” Comer said in a statement.

“These subpoenas are a necessary next step as House Republicans deliver accountability for the American people” Jordan said in a statement about the subpoenas.

House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican whose panel is also involved in the Republican-led inquiry, said in a statement, “no one should be shielded from legal scrutiny based on their last name.”

“Congress has a constitutional duty to conduct oversight to determine whether our nation’s elected leaders have used public office to enrich themselves or their families, and more importantly, whether those public officials may be compromised by their family’s foreign business dealings,” Smith said.

Recently, House Oversight Republicans released two personal checks from James and Sara to Joe Biden, which had the words “loan repayment” written on the front and occurred when Joe Biden was not in elected office.

Walker, who after receiving money from countries like China and Romania wired portions to some members of the Biden family, told the FBI in 2020, “I certainly never was thinking at any time that ah.., the V. P. was a part of anything we were doin’.”

Jordan has separate subpoenas

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to issue its own subpoenas to Hunter and James Biden as well as Walker on Thursday, a source told CNN.

The cover letters to the subpoenas Comer issued on Wednesday are signed by both Comer and Jordan, and reveal that more subpoenas are coming.

“Attached to this letter is the Oversight Committee’s subpoena; the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena will be transmitted to you separately,” Comer and Jordan wrote.

In each cover letter, the pair laid out why they were issuing the subpoenas.

To the lawyers for Hunter and James Biden, the committee chairmen wrote, “The Committees require your client’s testimony to provide evidence that is relevant to the impeachment inquiry. In particular, your client has personal knowledge of whether and how President Biden has been involved in his family’s business dealings.”

To the president’s son’s lawyer specifically, the Republican chairmen wrote, “based on our review of this evidence, it is clear that Robert Hunter Biden was at the center of many of these transactions and actively involved in the web connecting the Biden family to foreign money.”

Comer and Jordan argue that through these depositions, they are looking to see whether Joe Biden made policy decisions in office based on his family’s business dealings, abused his office by giving foreign interests access to him on behalf of his family, or knowingly participated in a scheme to enrich himself or his family.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com