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Legal Law

Hunter Biden Smokes Congress – Above the Law

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congressional subpoenas have the force of law. Except when they don’t. 

Also, Congressional subpoenas have to be authorized by a vote of the whole House. Except, of course, when they don’t.

Republicans are in a pickle of their own making with respect to Hunter Biden, the living vessel for all their hopes of finding something, anything to pin on the boring, old guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

During the first Trump impeachment, Attorney General Bill Barr tasked his minions with providing legal cover for his boss’s blanket refusal to cooperate with Congress. The Office of Legal Counsel obliged with a memo insisting that impeachment subpoenas are only valid if the entire House votes to “expressly authorize a committee to conduct an impeachment investigation and to use compulsory process in that investigation.”

As of this writing, the House hadn’t voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry, so under the Barr rule, the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena of Hunter Biden isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Whoopsie!

Second, during the January 6 Committee’s investigation, Reps. Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy, and Scott Perry all ignored subpoenas to testify about their role in the events leading up to the attack on the Capitol that day. Which makes Jordan an imperfect messenger for the argument that blowing off a congressional subpoena is a crime.

Third, House Oversight Chair James Comer ran his mouth to serial plagiarist turned walking shitpost Benny Johnson, and promised that he’d let Biden testify publicly.

“We can bring these people in for depositions or Committee hearings, whichever they choose,” he boasted.

To which Hunter Biden’s very good lawyer Abbe Lowell replied “Mr. Chairman, we take you up on your offer.”

In a November 28, letter to Comer, Lowell decried the subpoenas for his client and various members of the Biden family as “a Hail Mary pass with your team behind in the score and time running out.”

“We have seen you use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public. We therefore propose opening the door,” he went on, promising to make his client available for testimony on December 13, but only if that testimony would be public.

With his client facing multiple indictments for gun and tax charges, and with a promise from Special Counsel David Weiss to look into foreign lobbying allegations against his client, Lowell was clearly bluffing. But he did succeed in backfooting the hapless legislator, who was then put in the position of saying he didn’t want to hear from Biden in public after all. This amounted to a public concession that he really did want to release selected snippets and avoid the gleeful pantsing he gets from the Committee’s Democrats, particularly Reps. Raskin, Moskowitz, and Goldman, every time he tries this shit in public.

And this morning, the president’s son spanked Comer again.

“For six years, I have been a target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine shouting, ‘Where’s Hunter?’ Well, here’s my answer. I am here,” the president’s son told reporters on the steps of the Capitol.

He decried Republicans invasion of his privacy, their display of his naked photos on the House floor, and their attempt to convert his father’s articulation of an international demand for Ukraine to take a stand against public corruption into a “non-existent bribe.”

“They ridiculed my struggle with addiction. They belittled my recovery and they have tried to dehumanize me, all to embarrass and damage my father who has devoted his entire life to service,” he went on. “They have taken the light of my dad’s love for me and presented it as darkness. They have no shame.”

They also managed to make a notorious reprobate look like a sympathetic victim — which is probably not what Comer and Jordan were aiming for. Nor was this presser where they tried to look self-righteous about their plan to refer Biden for contempt of Congress charges, only to be derailed by Rep. Taylor Greene doing her impression of the comment section at Gateway Pundit.

Presumably House Republicans will manage later today to vote for an impeachment inquiry into President Biden for uh, tell ya later. Then they’ll go on vacation for three weeks, because not governing really takes a lot out of you!

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes the Law and Chaos Substack.


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