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Fox News
Fox News
10 Feb 2023

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Lowell has declared the oversight investigation in the Biden family's alleged influence peddling as illegitimate and has refused to turn over records related to its investigation. In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY), Lowell declared "Peddling your own inaccurate and baseless conclusions under the guise of a real investigation, turns the Committee into ‘Wonderland’ and you into the Queen of Hearts shouting, ‘sentence first, verdict afterwords.’"

The move comes after news reports of a Democratic team forming around Hunter to attack potential witnesses and adopt a scorched earth approach in litigation. Even in personal matters, Hunter appears to be dispensing with his prior cultivation of a tragic and besieged figure. Recently, Hunter moved to block one of his daughters from using his surname.


In this latest matter, Lowell appears to be channeling the same strategy of Steve Bannon who was ultimately charged with contempt and convicted. At the time, I said that Bannon was asking for a contempt charge and Biden appears to be replicating this same ill-considered strategy.

Lowell would have been far smarter to turn over some material to the Committee in good faith while seeking to negotiate on the scope of the inquiry. A categorical refusal gives the Committee ample basis to issue a subpoena. Lowell is simply wrong that there is "no legislative purpose" in seeking information on possible influence peddling by the Biden family that could involve the President himself. Such corruption scandals have been part of congressional inquiries from the XYZ Affair to the Teapot Dome scandal to the investigation of Trump family business interests.

Lowell left open the door to Comer convincing him of some "legitimate legislative purpose" in meetings, but the letter went too far in its categorical rejection of the initial demand. Comer is likely to balk at having to convince Hunter Biden of the "legitimacy" of his investigation. A court would likely support the Committee's right to such evidence for financial and communication records. While the Committee will not necessarily get everything, it is likely to prevail on threshold issue of the right to such evidence.

In the Bannon case, the Democrats spared little time in seeking a contempt order. Just one week after Bannon missed a date to appear, they voted out the contempt sanction of Committee, and it was quickly approved by the House as a whole. It was contempt of Congress, as I said at the time. However, Republicans opposed the sanction on the same grounds now being used by Lowell and some Democratic members.

Lowell could tack back on his letter, as he did his earlier letter on the laptop. However, he may have little time to do so. He just led the foundation for the Oversight Committee to move quickly toward a subpoena and ultimately a contempt sanction, if he maintains this position. Lowell actually expedited the process for the House, shortening the calendar for possible contempt proceedings. If this matter were to go to the courts (either as a criminal contempt matter or an enforcement matter, or both), there is now plenty of time for the Committee to prevail in securing much of this material.

That would place Attorney General Merrick Garland in a tough position. After years of the Justice Department largely ignoring contempt sanctions, Garland moved aggressively to prosecute Trump figures like Bannon. The failure to do so with Hunter Biden would fuel concerns over political bias at the Department.

The bill has come due on the alleged Biden influence peddling operation. While Democrats and pundits have insisted that there is no actual crime raised in such corruption, it is clearly a matter for Congress to investigate. Otherwise, the Democrats will be in a position of arguing that neither the courts nor Congress can pursue allegations of corruption and foreign influence surrounding the President and his family.

That is a fight that the Republicans should relish, and Hunter Biden just made it a lot easier.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University and a practicing criminal defense attorney. He is a Fox News contributor.
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