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With contempt charge on hold, Hunter Biden and House Republicans negotiate testimony

House Republicans say they are negotiating with attorneys for Hunter Biden to arrange for President Biden's son to testify before a Congressional committee and avoid a vote to hold him in contempt.
Jose Luis Magana
/
AP
House Republicans say they are negotiating with attorneys for Hunter Biden to arrange for President Biden's son to testify before a Congressional committee and avoid a vote to hold him in contempt.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said new negotiations with Hunter Biden's legal team are underway for his testimony, a week after Republicans initiated an effort to hold the president's son in contempt.

The Ohio Republican made the remarks leaving a House Republican conference meeting Wednesday morning. Jordan told NPR that talks with Hunter Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, have been positive so far.

"Hunter Biden's coming in," Jordan said. "We don't have a date, but... our counsel has had good conversations with Mr. Lowell."

Asked if Hunter Biden could be coming in as early as this week, Jordan told NPR, "it won't be that early," signaling that a deposition date could be set as early as next week or beyond.

During twin hearings by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees last week, the Republican-led panels voted to approve a resolution to hold Hunter Biden under contempt, sending the resolution to the full House floor for a vote. During the Oversight hearing, Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance, offering to testify publicly, followed later by a statement from his legal team.

"Rather than accepting Mr. Biden's offer to voluntarily sit for a public hearing, you are now seeking to have the full House find him in contempt based on subpoenas for a deposition that you issued on November 8 and 9, 2023," which are now considered legally invalid, Lowell wrote Jordan and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer in a Jan. 12 letter.

Hunter Biden has repeatedly offered to testify publicly, but House Republicans have refused, saying the testimony must be taken behind closed doors. On Wednesday, House Republican Whip Tom Emmer called Hunter Biden's surprise appearance a "press stunt."

"When his press stunt at the Oversight Committee fell flat, reality seems to have set in," Emmer, R-Minn., told reporters. "By the end of the week, Hunter Biden's lawyer had notified Chairmen Comer and Jordan that he was ready to admit defeat after defying two lawfully issued subpoenas."

Now, with both sides negotiating, Republicans have hit the pause button on a full House floor vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt. Emmer warned if the delays continue, Republicans will resume efforts to hold Hunter Biden in contempt.

"No one, not even the president's son, is above the law," Emmer said.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
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