House Republicans Issue Criminal Referrals of Hunter and James Biden

House Republicans Issue Criminal Referrals of Hunter and James Biden

House Republicans on Wednesday urged the Justice Department to charge Hunter and James Biden, the president’s son and brother, with making false statements to Congress in the impeachment inquiry against President Biden.

The chairmen of three House committees recommended the action in a criminal referral sent less than a week after the conviction of former President Donald J. Trump on 34 felony counts in New York. Their allegations, which assert that both men made false statements to Congress about President Biden’s involvement in his family’s business dealings, appear to include misrepresentations of Hunter Biden’s testimony.

They also accused Hunter Biden of perjury.

The referrals carry no force of law, but House Republicans are hoping to influence the Justice Department, particularly if Mr. Trump takes it over, to carry out more prosecutions of the Biden family. And since his conviction last week, they have been searching for ways to use their majority in the House to retaliate and undercut the two federal indictments of the former president.

In a statement, Speaker Mike Johnson said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, whom Republicans have accused of anti-conservative bias, should prove his independence by taking immediate action on the accusations.

“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,” Mr. Johnson said.

Hunter Biden has already been indicted by two federal grand juries in different jurisdictions and is currently on trial in Wilmington on charges of lying about his drug use on a federal form when he purchased a gun.

Representative James Comer, the Oversight chairman; Representative Jim Jordan, the Judiciary chairman; and Representative Jason Smith, the Ways and Means chairman, signed off on the new referrals.

Hunter Biden testified in February and rebuked House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry during a closed-door deposition as a “partisan political pursuit” that was based on a “false premise” and fueled by “lies.” James Biden also testified that his brother had no “involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest” in his business work.

The referral claims that Hunter Biden made false statements about holding a position at Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a corporate entity that received millions of dollars from foreign individuals.

In his testimony, when asked whether he held the position of “corporate secretary” at the firm, Hunter Biden said, “I didn’t even know there was such a thing.”

Members of his legal team say that Hunter Biden never denied he held a position at the firm, but that he was unaware he held the title of “corporate secretary.”

Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden’s, testified that Hunter Biden did not hold a position with the firm.

The referral also accuses Hunter Biden of providing “an entirely fictitious account” about threatening WhatsApp messages he sent to a business partner while claiming to be sitting next to his father. In his testimony, Mr. Biden said he had exchanged such messages with a Henry Zhao, showing he must have been drunk and high, since he was actually in business with an entirely different person named Raymond Zhao.

But it was Republicans and an I.R.S. agent who initially confused the two Zhaos when presenting the evidence that Hunter Biden relied upon to answer questions about the messages. The referral accuses Hunter Biden of intentionally misleading them about the true recipient.

The Republicans also allege that James Biden lied to Congress when he stated that Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not meet with Hunter Biden’s business associate Tony Bobulinski in 2017 while they were pursuing a deal with a Chinese entity.

In his testimony, James Biden denied such a meeting took place, but Hunter Biden told Republican investigators that Mr. Bobulisnki did meet his father in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton in California. Hunter Biden said that he introduced the men, and that they shook hands and talked about a family member of Mr. Bobulinski’s who was suffering from cancer.

In James Biden’s testimony, he said that no such meeting took place, and that he never discussed such a meeting with Hunter Biden either. “Not that he remembers,” his lawyer interjected. “Not that I recall,” James Biden said.

“It appears making false statements runs in the Biden family,” Mr. Comer said in a statement. “We’ve caught President Biden’s son and brother making blatant lies to Congress in what appears to be a concerted effort to hide Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s schemes.”

A lawyer for James Biden criticized the congressional referral on Wednesday.

“This baseless partisan action is a transparent and cynical attempt to distract from and retaliate for Donald Trump’s recent criminal conviction,” the lawyer, Paul J. Fishman, said in a statement. “James Biden testified earlier this year and has always maintained that Joe Biden never had any involvement in his business dealings.”

Hunter Biden’s lawyer has denied he lied to Congress. The lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the examples in his client’s testimony that Republicans pointed to had been twisted to distort their meaning. “Here they go again, grasping at straws and twisting Hunter’s testimony to try to revive an impeachment inquiry that was a complete and utter failure,” Mr. Lowell said after House Republicans accused Hunter Biden last month of lying to Congress.

Republicans carrying out an impeachment investigation into President Biden have struggled for months to try to tie any of Hunter Biden’s alleged criminal misconduct to his father. That has left them without the votes in their own party to charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment.

Instead, top G.O.P. lawmakers have pivoted to the strategy of making criminal referrals, which are a politically easier move for House Republicans than impeachment. They do not require a vote of Congress.

In some ways, the Republicans are following a model created by Democrats in the last Congress.

The Democratic-run special House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol made major headlines in the last Congress with its criminal referrals of Mr. Trump. (He was later charged by the Justice Department with crimes related to the plan to overturn the 2020 election.)

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