Legal experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation that President Joe Biden could be convicted of accepting a bribe based on payments made to family members.
Democrats have largely objected to the Republican investigation of Hunter Biden and the newly launched impeachment investigation of President Joe Biden on the grounds that the president did not receive any direct payments or benefits from his son's business dealings and alleged influence peddling, as the Daily Caller reported.
According to legal experts, this is erroneous, as the foreign payments Hunter Biden received could implicate his father if a direct link is established.
“There are cases in which payments made to family members can be treated as bribery of the principle if he is aware of it,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz told the DCNF in August.
When the House Oversight Committee released its third bank records memo in August on payments Hunter Biden received from foreign sources.
Republicans argued payments need not be made “directly to the president to show corruption” because “the law recognizes payments to family members to corruptly influence others can constitute a bribe.”
The memo identified more than $20 million in foreign payments to the Biden family and associates, including payments that first son Hunter Biden received while Joe Biden was vice president from Russian oligarch Elena Baturina, Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, and Kazakh businessman Kenes Rakishev.
In response, White House spokesman Ian Sams stated that the document “doesn’t show anything about President Biden.”
Former federal prosecutor and FBI consultant Joseph Moreno told the DCNF that federal law indicates it a crime “for a public official to directly or indirectly receive something of value in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act.”
“So in establishing whether there was a quid pro quo, prosecutors would have to prove that something was demanded or received by a public official (including the President) in exchange for some official act (i.e., approving foreign aid, putting pressure on a foreign official),” he explained.
“This can be done via a direct payment or gift to a public official, or an indirect one through, say, a family member or business associate.”
A payment accepted through a family member may also be relevant in an impeachment proceeding, where the standard for removing a president is less stringent and does not "require a statutory violation," he said.
“Impeachment by the House (Art. I, Section 2) and trial by the Senate is for when a President commits ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ which is not a term defined in the Constitution but has largely been considered to be whatever Congress deems to be,” he said.
“So if Congress wants to impeach and try President Biden for benefitting from improper payments received through his son or other family members, it is free to do so.”