Jonathan Turley: Monetary Benefits to Biden Family Implicate Joe Biden in Wrongdoing

Monetary benefits to Biden family members are benefits to President Joe Biden and therefore implicate him in wrongdoing, legal scholar Jonathan Turley said during Thursday’s impeachment inquiry hearing.

“Can a benefit to your family be a benefit to you?” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Turley regarding Joe Biden and his family’s alleged influence peddling. 

“It is,” Turley replied. 

Turley said Democrats claim that it must be proven that Joe Biden accepted direct money in order for him to be implicated in Biden family wrongdoing. The legal scholar called that claim “fallacious.”

“There’s been a repeated [Democrat] statements that you need to show that President Biden accepted direct money in order for this to constitute a benefit even under criminal cases that deal with bribery, extortion, the Hobbs Act,” Turley prefaced. “The courts actually have rejected that. They’ve said that money going to family members is, in fact, a benefit.”

“I don’t really see any legal basis for that,” he said, referring to the Democrats’ claim. “Obviously, the strongest case is if you have a direct payment, but this idea that you can have millions going to a politician’s family. And that’s not a benefit. I think it’s pretty fallacious.”

Turley later added to his opinion in response to Rep. Gary Palmer’s (R-AL) pointed question about Joe Biden potentially using his former office of the vice presidency to benefit his family. “In your view, could the promise of foreign access to any official government official, whether it’s the vice president or anybody else — that only materially benefited a family member — could that be influence peddling?” Palmer asked.

Turley replied:

Yes, and as I point out in the testimony, courts have found that various benefits to family members can be attributed as a benefit to the principle. That has included everything from throwing a golf contest in the favor of a son of a politician to paying for gifts. In fact, I was lead counsel in the last…impeachment trial for a judge, and that was the trial in the U.S. Senate. My client, Judge [Thomas] Porteous, was accused, among other things, of benefits going to his family. And so there’s there’s certainly precedent, not only in criminal cases, but in impeachment cases for making that next [claim].
In fact, it’s [influence peddling] perhaps the most quintessential violation of the public trust because you’re not acting in the public’s interest. It’s a form of public corruption that this government, this country, has declared as corrupt in other countries around the world.

The House Oversight Committee unveiled several tranches of Biden business bank records. Those showed the Biden business received at least $20 million from business schemes in Romania, China, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

In total, nine Biden family members received payments from the family foreign business ventures, including two of Joe Biden’s grandchildren:

  • Hunter Biden
  • James Biden, Joe Biden’s Brother
  • Sara Jones Biden, Joe Biden’s Brother’s Wife
  • Hallie Biden, Beau Biden’s Widow and Hunter Biden’s Ex-Lover
  • Kathleen Buhle, Hunter Biden’s Ex-Wife
  • Melissa Cohen, Hunter Biden’s Current Wife
  • Two Children of Joe Biden’s Son [Names Unknown]
  • Joe Biden’s Brother’s Child [Names Unknown]

Republican lawmakers recently predicted their investigation into the Biden family could prove the Biden business raked in more than $50 million, about $30 million more than bank records show thus far.

“Based on the evidence I’ve seen so far, I think the number is going to be north of $50 million that we’re talking about here,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) told Fox News in July.

Speaking with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) supported Mace’s $50 million prediction. “Do you believe that number is realistic and right?” Hannity asked.

“I do think it’s realistic,” Comer replied.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.

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