House GOP asks Justice Department. accuse Biden’s son and brother of false statements

A trio of GOP-led House committees wrote to the Justice Department on Wednesday to recommend that President Biden’s son Hunter and his brother James be indicted for making false statements to Congress during the Republican president’s long-running impeachment inquiry.

In a 65-page letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Republican chairmen of the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees — Reps. James Comer (Ky.), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Jason T. Smith (Mo.), respectivelypoint to what they consider “overwhelming evidence” that Hunter Biden and James Biden should be prosecuted for false statements and perjury regarding their business dealings while Joe Biden was vice president.

Hunter Biden, through his attorney Abbe Lowell, has denied any wrongdoing. James Biden immediately responded to a request for comment.

The Justice Department has no legal obligation to act on the Republicans’ recommendation.

But Comer, the Oversight Committee chairman, previously suggested that the Justice Department could bring new accusations against the Bidens if Donald Trump wins the presidential election in November. House Republicans returned to Washington this week vowing to more aggressively target the Biden administration after a New York jury found Trump guilty last week of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to an adult film actress.

As Biden’s Justice Department pursues Trump in separate cases in Washington D.C. and Florida, the president has gone out of his way to avoid getting involved or even talking about those cases in anything other than the most general terms . At a congressional hearing Tuesday, Garland strongly denied accusations from House Republicans who repeatedly claimed the Justice Department was in contact with New York state prosecutors. Garland also appointed special advisers to handle the investigations into Trump and Hunter Biden, as well as President Biden’s handling of classified materials, saying it would not be appropriate for him to directly oversee investigations into his boss and Trump as they face off in the next presidential election. election.

Trump has repeatedly suggested he might use the Justice Department to get revenge on his political enemies.

“When President Trump returns to the White House, it is essential that the new DOJ leadership has everything they need to pursue the Biden Crime Family and deliver swift justice,” Comer wrote in a collection email funds in March.

Criminal referrals likely be the culmination of a years-long investigation by House Republicans, who unsuccessfully attempted to prove that Biden was involved in and personally benefited from his son and brother’s overseas business dealings while he was vice president.

The long-running impeachment inquiry has divided the House’s narrow Republican majority between hard-liners who seek to immediately remove Biden from office and ruling-minded conservatives who don’t want to prosecute. without evidence linking Biden to potential crimes.

Lacking enough votes to impeach the president, committees investigating Biden’s family have focused on issuing criminal charges and threatening to hold Cabinet officials for contempt of Congress.

“My views on impeachment in general? “It’s a very high bar that they have to meet, and they have to convince their colleagues that it’s the right thing to do,” the representative said. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) said in a March interview. “If they refuse to present articles of impeachment, I think that’s the right decision.”

The Justice Department is suing Biden’s son, Hunter, over tax evasion charges and allegations that he lied about his drug use when purchasing a gun. A trial in the latter case is underway in Delaware, where Hunter’s ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend and the Delaware gun dealer who sold him the revolver were tested Wednesday.

Any criminal referral issued by Congress to the Justice Department would be a symbolic decision that would have no legal weight on its own, leaving it up to prosecutors to decide whether to pursue criminal charges. charges. But the criminal referrals could serve as a messaging vehicle for Republicans who have sought to legitimize unsubstantiated claims and theories about Biden and his family.

Members of the House presidential committee argue that Hunter Biden perjured himself by testifying earlier this year that he did not send a WhatsApp message to an executive of a Chinese energy conglomerate pressuring him to pay invoking the presence of his father. Smith, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, released the text exchange last month.

They also allege that Biden’s son “made false statements” about his role at a company that did business with foreign clients.

“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by Republicans to distort Hunter’s testimony so they can distract from their failed impeachment inquiry and interfere with his trial,” said Lowell, Hunter’s lawyer. Biden.

Presidents said James Biden lied to Congress about whether President Biden, then a private citizen, met with Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, in May 2017, when Hunter was Pursuing an agreement with CEFC, a Chinese energy conglomerate.

At a hearing earlier this year, Bobulinski pointed to that meeting, arranged by Hunter and James Biden, as evidence that Joe Biden was aware of his son’s business dealings with foreign entities. But When Bobulinski was asked about the 45-minute meeting in Los Angeles, he made no specific mention of Hunter pursuing a deal with CEFC.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) issued a statement welcoming the dismissal and saying the Justice Department should open a criminal investigation to demonstrate that Garland “is not running a two-tiered system of justice.” .

The Ministry of Justice did not respond to Republican referrals on Wednesday evening.

In a recent interview with Politico, Comer said removals “don’t expire” and that if the current Justice Department “doesn’t try to enforce the law…maybe the next one will.”

Dismissals may not appease radical Republicans who remain adamant about impeaching the president. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) threatened to force a vote on Biden’s impeachment this week using special rules that would force the House must take up the question within 48 legislative hours.

After a meeting Tuesday with Johnson, Greene appeared to have backed off her threat for now, allowing the House to adjourn for the week, but not without criticizing her colleagues for not aggressively targeting the president. and his family.

“Republicans across the country and many Americans in general are fed up with an irresponsible and wasteful Republican Party conference that does nothing. They are completely fed up with committee hearings that produce no results,” she told reporters. “Here in this useless building, everyone talks and does nothing. I moved on.”

Jacqueline Alemany and Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.

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