The House has stopped moving forward with a resolution to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress after Biden’s lawyers and the House Judiciary and Oversight committees renewed their conversations about scheduling a date for the president’s son to appear and testify.
The two Republican-led committees voted last week to recommend that the full House hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena in the Republican impeachment inquiry into his father. The younger Biden had offered to testify at a public hearing, and he appeared on Capitol Hill to make a statement in December on the day ordered in his subpoena but did not appear for the closed-door testimony the committees requested.
After the contempt vote, Biden’s lead attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a letter to the committees that the subpoenas were “legally invalid” because they were issued before the House’s vote last month to authorize the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, but he said that if the committees issued new subpoenas, Hunter Biden’s legal team would accept it on their client’s behalf. House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said they would issue new subpoenas, and sources said Monday that the committee chairmen would be willing to recommend to leadership to hold off on a potential vote to hold Biden in contempt of Congress if he genuinely cooperated with the committee and worked to set a date for a closed-door deposition.
“Following an exchange of letters between the parties on January 12 and January 14, staff for the committees and lawyers for Hunter Biden are working to schedule Hunter Biden’s appearance,” a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee said. “Negotiations are ongoing this afternoon, and in conjunction with the disruption to member travel and cancelling votes, the House Rules Committee isn’t considering the contempt resolution today to give the attorneys additional time to reach an agreement.”
Hunter Biden’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Biden’s Hollywood attorney, Kevin Morris, is scheduled to sit for a transcribed interview with House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committee staff members on Thursday, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
Morris received a formal request — though not a subpoena — for a transcribed interview in November as part of the committees’ impeachment inquiry into the president.
NBC News has reported that Morris began advising Hunter Biden in 2020 and arranged to pay about $2 million in outstanding tax obligations to the IRS for him in 2020 and 2021.
Morris declined to comment.
Morris’ payments to the IRS were not a focus of federal prosecutors, according to multiple sources familiar with the five-year investigation. Morris is mentioned in the federal indictment filed in December as a “personal friend” who provided about $200,000 for Hunter Biden’s rent.
The House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees wrote to Morris in November to request his testimony, noting that news reports indicated he had lent Hunter Biden more than $2 million and that other testimony they obtained said he made tax payments on behalf of Biden. They also pointed to Biden’s initial plea deal that fell apart in August, which identified a third party that had made tax payments on his behalf.
“The Committees are interested in understanding the nature and purpose of any loans to or payments on behalf of Hunter Biden that may have occurred while Joe Biden was either a candidate for public office or holding public office. Among other things, the Committees intend to understand the terms of such loans’ you made to Hunter Biden and what benefits you may have received as a result of providing financial assistance to President Biden’s son,” the committee chairmen wrote in a letter to Morris.
Separately, the House Ways and Means Committee obtained and released documents from two IRS whistleblowers who worked on the Hunter Biden case, including an email in which Morris contacted Biden’s accountant in February 2020 to discuss wanting to reconcile Biden’s back taxes because they posed a “considerable risk personally and politically.”
The House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees did not comment on Morris’ planned testimony.
Morris is a longtime Hollywood attorney, producer and novelist, known for orchestrating lucrative deals, including those for the creators of “South Park” and “The Book of Mormon.” He and a small group of veteran documentary filmmakers are at work on several documentary films — about subjects from Hunter Biden, former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to JFK assassination conspiracists. Sources familiar with the production said Hunter Biden has no editorial control in the filmmaking process for the film he is participating in.
Morris notably did not attend Biden’s arraignment in a Los Angeles courtroom last week. He appeared with Biden for a surprise news conference in December in front of the Capitol and sat next to him last week in the House Oversight markup hearing for a resolution to hold Biden in contempt of Congress.
Morris’ friendship with Biden dates back to 2019. “I don’t know where I would be if not for Kevin,” Biden told the Los Angeles Times this month. “And I don’t mean just because he has loaned me money to survive this onslaught, I mean because he has given me back my dignity. He’s been a brother to me.”