Republicans Refer Hunter And James Biden For Criminal Prosecution In Impeachment Probe

WASHINGTON ― Republicans on Wednesday asked the Department of Justice to prosecute President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and brother James over alleged false statements they made to Congress.

Hunter and James Biden spoke to lawmakers earlier this year about their overseas business deals as part of Republicans’ impeachment inquiry. The criminal referrals may be the climax of the probe, which has not uncovered official acts of corruption by the president.

“We’ve caught President Biden’s son and brother making blatant lies to Congress in what appears to be a concerted effort to hide Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s schemes,” House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a press release.

The three alleged false statements, however, center on small-scale aspects of Republicans’ sprawling investigation:

  • Hunter Biden claimed in his February deposition he had accidentally sent a threatening WhatsApp message in 2017 to the wrong Chinese businessman because he was high or drunk; Republicans pointed to records that “demonstrate conclusively that Hunter Biden made this threat to the intended individual.” The content of the message was the problem, however, since Hunter Biden implied his father would somehow retaliate against the businessman if he didn’t pay.

  • Hunter Biden denied having a formal role in a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai, one of several limited liability corporations associated with his business activities. Republicans obtained a document signed by Hunter Biden indicating that he was the company’s corporate secretary. (Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, also said Biden had no role in the company, but Archer is not being referred for prosecution.)

  • James Biden said his brother Joe Biden did not meet with a business associate named Tony Bobulinski at a California hotel in 2017, contrary to testimony from both Bobulinski and Hunter Biden.

The Justice Department is not required to act on criminal referrals from Congress, since law enforcement is not the job of the legislative branch of government.

The impeachment inquiry against President Biden examined whether he participated in his son and brother’s business deals, but a parade of business partners told lawmakers that while Joe Biden may have occasionally greeted his son’s work friends, he never got involved in the work. (Bobulinski said Joe Biden was involved, but described two brief encounters with the former vice president in 2017 where no business was discussed.)

The case against Joe Biden suffered a catastrophic setback in February when the Justice Department said an FBI informant who’d claimed to have spoken to a Ukrainian oligarch about bribing him actually made up the conversation.

Criminal referrals are something of a consolation prize that Comer increasingly talked about this spring as prospects dimmed for a full House vote on articles of impeachment against the president. Comer previously said that Republicans could refer the younger Biden for a variety of criminal violations, including wire fraud, transporting a prostitute across state lines and failing to register as a foreign agent.

“You know, at the end of the day, when we wrap this report up, Hunter Biden’s gonna have between six and 10 criminal referrals,” Comer said last summer on Fox News.

Wednesday’s letters to the Justice Department, from Comer, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), only concern lying to Congress.

Hunter Biden is currently on trial in Delaware for illegally owning a firearm when he was addicted to drugs, and he faces more charges for failing to pay his taxes on time.

Republicans last month said Hunter Biden had lied three times during his deposition, not just two, but as HuffPost reported at the time, Republicans had apparently misread an email they’d obtained from Biden’s hard drive.

In a statement, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), said the criminal referrals were essentially an admission that the impeachment inquiry had failed.

“After collecting 3.8 million pages of documents and more than 80 hours of testimony from 19 witnesses, they throw up their hands and confess that they have no evidence of any wrongdoing, much less a high crime and misdemeanor by President Biden,” Raskin said.