Back in October 2021, President Joe Biden declared his position pertaining to defiance against a subpoena from the January 6 House Select Committee, stating that such refusal ought to lead to prosecution. Consequently, the refusal of his son, Hunter Biden, to comply with a congressional subpoena on a Wednesday appeared to challenge his father’s decree.
This defiance came in the form of Hunter Biden opting for a press conference on Capitol Hill rather than attending his deposition before the House Oversight Committee as commanded.
President Biden’s declaration in 2021, emphasizing legal consequences for those who defy subpoenas from the January 6 House Select Committee, recalled as the time when the Justice Department indicted Steve Bannon for a similar act in November 2021. Legal experts are now pointing out that while Hunter Biden could face similar consequences, for various reasons, it may not be the case.
The Biden Justice Department’s decision to prosecute or not lies in the intricacies of the situation. Hunter Biden, rather than attending the deposition, held a press conference on Capitol Hill. Philip Holloway, a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst, shared his views on this with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Holloway opined that the application of law must be universal for it to hold any weight. According to him, ‘Hunter Biden needs to be held to the same standard as other recent people who have thumbed their noses at congressional subpoenas.’ He further strengthened his argument by highlighting how Hunter Biden’s press conference on Capitol Hill symbolized a blatant show of defiance towards the House of Representatives.
Drawing reference to Steve Bannon’s recent case, Holloway stressed that Hunter Biden should also be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney and cited for contempt. Ignoring a valid subpoena, as per Holloway, is simply foolish, as he believes Hunter could have utilized the 5th Amendment during his deposition instead.
Hunter’s legal choices have raised question marks for Holloway. He wondered why the legal counsel standing with Hunter at the press conference would risk additional criminal charges on his client. The act of dodging a subpoena, Holloway added, was something he would never advise a client to do.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Jonathan Turley, a Law professor at George Washington University, suggested that initiating contempt of Congress proceedings could corner Attorney General Merrick Garland. He referred to Hunter’s refusal to participate as an ‘unenforced error’.
In 2021, Garland referred to Bannon’s prosecution as a pursuit of ‘equal justice under the law.’ He reiterated his commitment to the rule of law and the principles of justice, stating, ‘Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law.’ He emphasized that the charges held mirrored the Justice Department’s unwavering dedication to upholding these principles.
Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, along with the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, opined on Wednesday that they plan to initiate the same proceedings against Hunter Biden. In November, they subpoenaed Hunter, alongside his uncle James Biden and former business associate Rob Walker, to answer inquiries related to the Biden family’s international business deals.
According to a September House memo, the Bidens and their business associates reportedly accumulated over $24 million through dealings with countries including Ukraine, Russia, China, Romania, and Kazakhstan. These transactions took place between 2014 and 2019, raising several questions regarding the business practices of the family.
Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy provided his viewpoint on Wednesday, stating that Hunter Biden probably knows he won’t be prosecuted by his father’s Justice Department. He listed three potential reasons for this hypothesis- being the President’s son, the already existent tension with the White House due to prosecutors bungling the ‘sweetheart’ plea deal and having him indicted twice, and the fact that the Justice Department is part of the administrative narrative that the impeachment proceedings are simply an unjust political attack by Republic lawmakers.
The White House has yet to officially respond to these developments. The actions of Hunter Biden, his subsequent choices surrounding the subpoena, and the reaction (or lack thereof) of the Justice Department continue to pepper the news, sparking speculation and discussions among the public, legal pundits, and political circles.
In particularly interested conservative circles, the discussions hinged on what the repercussions should be for defiance against a congressional subpoena and whether those repercussions would be different based on one’s political sway or connections. This incident also underlined questions around the responsibility of public figures to uphold the law and the pursuit of equal justice, topics very much at the heart of conservative values.
The transparency of the judicial process under Biden’s administration also came under scrutiny in some discussions, as the conservative demographic tends to value an approach favoring fairness and adherence to laws. All eyes will be on the next steps taken by the House Oversight Committee and the decisions of the Justice Department as the situation unfolds.
The Biden family’s international business practices, Hunter Biden’s subpoena evasion, the highlighted tension within the Justice Department, and the subsequent Conservative discourse all contribute to a nuanced narrative. Depending on the course of action taken by the administration, the narrative might either affirm or challenge the conservative perspective’s anticipation and expectations. Waiting, observing, and engaging in informed debate continue to mark the Conservative sphere in the midst of these developments.