GOP livid after DOJ urges court to send Devon Archer to prison before congressional testimony

Archer's attorney issued a statement that shows his client thinks differently than Republicans about the Justice Department's letter. 

Published: July 31, 2023 9:38am

Congressional Republicans are livid after the Justice Department sent a letter Saturday urging the court to set a date for former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer to report to prison right as he is scheduled to testify Monday to the House Oversight Committee.

The Justice Department's rare weekend request sparked enough outrage that the agency sent a follow-up letter Sunday stating that the government "does not request (and has never requested) that the defendant surrender before his Congressional testimony" and that the surrender process can take several weeks or months after the court sets a date.

House Oversight chair James Comer, R-Ky., on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" called the timing of the letter "odd," and said: "It's very troubling and I believe that this is another violation of the law. This is obstruction of justice."

The initial letter also sparked five Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee – Reps. Matt Gaetz, Mike Johnson, Chip Roy, Harriet Hageman and Dan Bishop – to commit to returning to Washington, D.C. from their districts earlier than planned in order to hold the agency accountable.

Gaetz, Fla., the first Republican to say he would come back early, had triggered the other members to join him by tweeting: "The DOJ is now actively committing the crime of obstructing a congressional investigation. … If Devin Archer isn’t in the witness chair Monday, we better haul every SOB at the DOJ before congress EVERY DAY to make them pay for this."

Bishop, S.C., the fifth House Republican to commit to returning to D.C., tweeted Sunday: "I think you need five. Count me in. Subpoenas should fly tomorrow."

Other Republicans have also expressed concerns about how the Justice Department asked the court to schedule a date for Archer to report to prison even though he has been out on bail since February 2022, when he was sentenced to just over a year in prison for defrauding a Native American tribe.

"Anyone who tries to obstruct Congressional oversight will be held accountable," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted. "What is the Biden Admin trying to hide?"

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., joined House Republicans in expressing outrage over the letter, calling the Justice Department "absolutely brazen" and stating that agency officials "simply don’t believe rules or standards apply to them."

However, Archer's attorney Matthew Schwartz issued a statement Sunday that shows his client thinks differently than Republicans about the Justice Department's letter. 

"We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice's weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee on Monday. To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation," Schwartz said, according to Catherine Herridge. "In any case, Mr. Archer will do what he has planned to do all along, which is to show up on Monday and to honestly answer the questions that are put to him by the Congressional investigators."

Archer is expected to be asked about alleged Biden family crimes during his testimony Monday.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on Twitter or Instagram.

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