Two House committees approved resolutions Wednesday recommending that Hunter Biden be held in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to testify and that the matter be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. 

But the question is: Why isn’t President Joe Biden’s embattled son already in jail?  

The younger Biden displayed his arrogance and defiance of Congress by showing up earlier Wednesday with his lawyers as the House Oversight and Accountability Committee held a hearing to discuss the contempt citation.

His brief appearance in a front-row seat created a public spectacle, as he did Dec. 13 by making a statement to reporters on Capitol Hill instead of complying with the committee’s subpoena to be deposed behind closed doors.

Hunter Biden’s defiance did not help him, since the House Judiciary Committee voted 23-14 and the Oversight and Accountability Committee 25-21 to advance their contempt resolutions to the House floor.

The younger Biden and his lawyers are waging a deceptive public relations war. He keeps claiming that he would be willing to testify publicly, while refusing to testify in a deposition in which he could be asked detailed questions without the times limits of a public hearing that severely constrain lawmakers’ ability to elicit information from, or cross-examine, a witness. 

Biden’s claim that he is willing to testify publicly is a complete sham. He wants to create a spectacle.

The president’s son, 53, has been indicted in California on nine serious tax-related charges, three of which are felony counts. He also has been indicted in in Delaware on three felony gun charges related to unlawful purchase of a firearm.

No competent defense attorney would allow Hunter Biden, in either a public or closed-door hearing before Congress, to do anything other than assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer questions. That’s because Biden faces serious charges in two different federal courts and still could be charged with, among other things, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Of course, Hunter Biden—and the White House—are concerned about how it will look if the president’s son invokes the Fifth Amendment and refuses to answer any questions pertaining to the involvement of other members of the Biden family, including his father, in his shady business dealings with overseas oligarchs in China, Russia, and Ukraine whose interests were not aligned with those of the United States. 

So the younger Biden is doing everything he can to avoid testifying at all, while putting on a show designed to portray him as the victim. It’s all a public relations con game.

If the House of Representatives approves a contempt citation against Biden, which seems highly likely, the House’s next problem will be his father’s Justice Department

Defying a congressional subpoena is a criminal violation of federal law under 2 U.S.C. § 192. But Congress is completely dependent on the Justice Department to enforce a contempt citation.

Given the partisan history of the Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland, and all of the actions the agency has taken to prevent, delay, minimize, and sideline the investigation of the president’s son, the odds seem quite slim that it actually will prosecute him and enforce the House’s contempt citation. 

Keep in mind that the federal indictments of Biden were filed only after the Justice Department’s previous sweetheart deal, offering to get the president’s son out of all of the tax and gun charges with no jail time, was scuttled after a public outcry and an alert federal judge’s questions about the propriety of the plea agreement.

The likelihood that the Justice Department will enforce the contempt citation against Hunter Biden is especially remote when you consider its past politicization.

During the Obama administration, the DOJ refused to enforce contempt citations against then-IRS official Lois Lerner and then-Attorney General Eric Holder; during the Biden administration, it enthusiastically went after former Trump White House aides Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro.

Enforcement apparently depends on whether you are a political ally or enemy of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

By refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena served upon him, the president’s son arguably violated the terms of his conditional pretrial release.

On Oct. 3, following the younger Biden’s indictment on the gun charges in Delaware, federal Magistrate Christopher J. Burke entered an order setting the conditions for his release and informing Biden that he could not “violate [any] federal, state, or local law while on release.”

Biden’s public defiance of a congressional subpoena appears to be in clear violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192, which makes it a federal crime (albeit a misdemeanor) to refuse to comply with such a subpoena.

Will the Justice Department prosecute Hunter Biden for criminal contempt of Congress if the entire House votes to approve the citation? If not, the department will add to a public perception that it’s unwilling to enforce the law on a nonpartisan basis—and that the president’s son is receiving preferential treatment.

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