Hunter Biden, the president’s son, surprised Republicans on the House Oversight Committee Wednesday morning when he briefly appeared in the hearing room as they prepared to vote to convict him of contempt of Congress for not having sat for a private deposition.
The arrival of the younger Mr. Biden, who repeatedly offered to testify publicly in President Biden’s impeachment inquiry but refused to be interviewed behind closed doors, caused chaos in the proceedings then that Democrats and Republicans were bickering over whether to allow him to be heard. .
The exchange pitted some of former President Donald J. Trump’s strongest supporters against his successor’s son and chief political rival, underscoring the bitter polarization driving the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats on the panel urged Republicans who control it to let Mr. Biden testify immediately, but Republican lawmakers insisted he must submit to a closed-door deposition as ordered by them. subpoena.
As Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, began speaking out against the younger Mr. Biden, he and his entourage left the room moments after their arrival, prompting Ms. Greene to call him a “coward “.
“Hunter Biden is terrified of strong conservative Republican women because he can’t even deal with my words,” said Ms. Greene, who showed nude photos of Mr. Biden at a previous committee hearing.
Representative Robert Garcia, Democrat of California, called her actions “shameful” and argued that Mr. Biden was right to leave even as she spoke.
“She’s the one who showed naked photos of Hunter Biden in that committee room,” he said.
The spectacle was the younger Mr. Biden’s latest attempt to undermine Republicans’ contention that he had failed to comply with their subpoena, by demonstrating that he was making himself available to testify publicly. He did not address the panel Wednesday, but previously said he did not want to be interviewed behind closed doors because he fears Republicans would selectively leak his testimony in an effort to distort it.
The younger Mr. Biden is under federal indictment and faces charges of tax crimes related to his overseas business interests. Republicans are seeking evidence that his father was inappropriately involved in his foreign business dealings and working to build a case to accuse the president of bribery and corruption, but have so far failed to found no evidence of either.
At a news conference at the Capitol on the day Republicans hoped to impeach him last month, Hunter Biden acknowledged his personal failings, described in scandalous detail in the indictment against him, but said that they had nothing to do with his father and that his father had no financial involvement in his business.
This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.