House Republicans said Wednesday they were investigating whether President Biden was involved in his son Hunter Biden’s decision to defy a congressional subpoena in their latest attempt to link the White House to accusations against the president’s son.
The chairmen of the Oversight and Judiciary Committees wrote a letter to Ed Siskel, the White House counsel, demanding all documents and communications between the president’s office and Hunter Biden, his legal team and Kevin Morris, a wealthy Hollywood lawyer who is friends with the president’s son.
At issue are the events of Dec. 13 when Hunter Biden appeared on Capitol Hill, but not to sit for a closed-door deposition as Republicans demanded. Instead, he held a news conference to denounce the Republicans’ investigation into him and his father, and insisted on testifying only in public, suggesting Republicans would twist his words with selective leaks.
The younger Mr. Biden is under federal indictment and facing accusations of tax crimes related to his overseas business interests, including with companies and partners in Ukraine and China. At the news conference, he acknowledged his personal failings, described in scandalous detail in the indictment, but said they had nothing to do with his father.
Afterward, Republicans threatened to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress for defying their subpoenas.
In their letter on Wednesday, Representatives James R. Comer of Kentucky and Jim Jordan of Ohio, the two chairmen leading an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, said they were focusing on a statement made by the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre. She had told reporters on Dec. 13 that the president was “certainly familiar with what his son was going to say.”
“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,” Mr. Comer and Mr. Jordan wrote in their letter.
By saying they were investigating obstruction of Congress, the Republicans echoed two of the charges in the federal criminal case against former President Donald J. Trump over his role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
The House voted this month to formally open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, as Republicans attempt to link the conduct of the younger Mr. Biden to his father as they hunt for evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors. Democrats have denounced the inquiry as a fishing expedition and a political stunt, while Mr. Trump has cheered it on.