House Republicans send DOJ criminal referral on Hunter and James Biden, accusing them of lying to Congress

Top House Republicans on Wednesday sent criminal referrals to the Justice Department recommending President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden be charged with making false statements to Congress.

The letter from the three GOP committee chairmen to Attorney General Merrick Garland and special counsel David Weiss comes as Hunter Biden is standing trial on unrelated gun charges brought by Weiss in federal court in Delaware. The trial began Monday.

The referrals also come less than a week after former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was convicted by a jury in New York on felony charges of falsifying business records.

The letter by House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky.; Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith, R-Mo., accused Hunter and James Biden of having “made provably false statements to the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee about key aspects of the impeachment inquiry, in what appears to be a conscious effort to hinder the investigation’s focus on President Joe Biden.” 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., also supported the move. “If the Attorney General wishes to demonstrate he is not running a two-tiered system of justice and targeting the President’s political opponents, he will open criminal investigations into James and Hunter Biden,” he said in a statement.

The ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, mocked the move, which he said only illustrates how Republicans have failed to prove their allegations of wrongdoing against the president.

“This agonizingly protracted and completely fruitless investigation has proven only that President Biden was not part of, did not profit from, and took no official actions to benefit his family members’ business ventures,” Raskin said, calling the referrals “a last-ditch effort to distract from the exoneration of President Biden by offering ‘gotcha’ accusations against the president’s son and brother.”

Hunter Biden and James Biden both sat for separate hours-long depositions in February before the Oversight and Judiciary committees as part of their impeachment investigation into the president.

In his prepared opening statement at the deposition, Hunter Biden pushed back at the basis of the committee’s impeachment inquiry. “I am here today to provide the Committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business,” Biden said in his prepared opening statement.

“Not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist. Never,” the statement said.

The chairmen’s letter accuses Hunter Biden of having “falsely distanced himself from a corporate entity” that received money from foreign individuals and entities, when he had previously represented that he was the company’s “corporate secretary.”

It also accused him of making up a claim by saying he’d sent threatening text messages meant for a Chinese business partner to the wrong person. The chairmen said the texts went to the intended recipient.

They also accuse James Biden of having been misleading by having said that Joe Biden did not meet a business associate of his and Hunter Biden’s named Tony Bobulinski in 2017, when Biden was not in office.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell has previously referred to the GOP-led probe as a hearing as a “carnival sideshow.” 

NBC News has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. The White House declined comment, and attorneys for Hunter Biden were not immediately available for comment. A representative for James Biden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.