Gotta hand it to Hunter Biden. He has been beating the MAGA congressional Republicans at their own game.
The GOP is desperate to find some kind of evidence that President Biden wrongfully profited from his son’s foreign dealings. So far, the quest, and their impeachment investigation, has yielded nothing. But House Republicans will not give up. In fact, their behavior reminds me of the old joke about the room filled with horse manure: They just know there’s a pony in there somewhere.
Hunter Biden has said, repeatedly, that he would testify in their disingenuous investigation. But he wanted to do so in public, not behind closed doors. Not good enough, said the Trump toadies, who want to grill him in secret. Why would testimony behind closed doors benefit Republicans?
“Lemme tell y’all why no one wants to talk to you behind closed doors,” explained Democratic Texas Rep. Jasmine Crockett to her Republican colleagues on the House Oversight Committee before they voted on Wednesday to recommend that the full House find Biden in contempt. “Cause y’all lie.” (Partisans, she meant, would selectively leak secret testimony damaging to the Bidens. Republicans have said, and not without merit, that an open hearing would devolve into partisan bickering and posturing.)
To the committee’s surprise, Biden had shown up for the Wednesday hearing, sitting in the front row. But not for long.
To his credit, when it was MAGA Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s turn to speak, Biden did the most contemptuous thing possible: He abruptly stood and strode out of the room.
“Wow, that’s too bad,” said a disappointed Greene. “I think it’s clear that Hunter Biden is terrified of strong conservative women. What a coward.”
Leaving was hardly the act of a coward, noted Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California. After all, he said, Greene “is the one who showed nude photos of Hunter Biden. Showing dick pics in this committee room!” (At a hearing last summer, Greene displayed photos of Biden that had been purloined from his notorious laptop.) Undaunted, Greene did it again on Wednesday, exploiting Biden when he was in the grip of addiction and despair over the death of his brother, Beau. Why should Hunter Biden sit still for Greene’s transparent attempt to humiliate him?
“You’ve got members of this committee who have engaged in revenge porn,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. MAGA Republican Rep. Nancy Mace had already set a bizarre and prurient tone, telling Biden, “You are the epitome of white privilege… . What are you afraid of? You have no balls.”
Between Greene’s fatuous display, Mace’s critique and — sorry, but I have to mention this — Colorado MAGA Rep. Lauren Boebert’s unseemly boyfriend groping at a Denver theater in September, one really has to wonder about the obsession MAGA Republican women have with male anatomy.
For the MAGA Republicans trying to unseat his father, Hunter Biden is so much more than a troubled son who has taken advantage of the family name. He is their chance to keep a Biden non-scandal in the news. If they can generate negative-sounding headlines about Hunter, maybe some of the stink will rub off on his dad.
“I think what they are doing to Hunter is cruel,” Jill Biden told MSNBC host Mika Brzezinksi on Thursday.
It is, but to his credit, Hunter Biden is refusing to let them do it without a fight. He has a deep-pocketed and loyal friend in Hollywood entertainment attorney Kevin Morris, who has been at his side since 2019 and lent him money to pay his back taxes, and a savvy and aggressive new defense attorney in Washington fixture Abbe Lowell.
On Friday, in a surprise move, Lowell told the chairmen of the two House committees seeking Biden’s testimony that his client would appear behind closed doors if they issued new subpoenas. I assume Biden folded rather than risk a House vote to refer contempt charges to the Justice Department, which might further exacerbate his legal woes. In any case, he had already made his point. Republicans, for their part, said they’d pursue contempt charges anyway.
Nonetheless, with the help of his father’s Democratic allies in Congress, Hunter Biden has been successfully rubbing MAGA Republicans’ faces in their own hypocrisy.
Congressional Trumpists have refused to hold their own colleagues who have spurned lawful subpoenas in contempt. The double standard is as predictable as it is shoddy.
Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz rattled off a whole list of them on Wednesday: GOP Reps. Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs and former Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, all of whom spurned subpoenas to testify in Congress’ investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. “Show the American people that we apply the law equally,” said Moskowitz. “If you hold them in contempt, I’ll vote for the Hunter Biden contempt.” (At the end, no Democrats voted to forward the contempt resolution to the full House.)
Thursday, Hunter Biden was in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles, pleading not guilty to tax charges. The case against him, which came after a plea deal fell apart, is serious, but he’s already made the government whole, repaying the taxes he owed, plus penalties and interest.
As for the MAGA-led committees hoping to use the son to impugn the father? They can sift through as much Biden, uh, dirt as they want, but they are never going to find a pony in there.