Issues & Insights
President Joe Biden hugs son Hunter, wife Jill during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II)

Is ‘The Big Guy’ In Big Trouble?

So far, the lurid news reports of global influence peddling, sex and drugs emanating from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and its thousands upon thousands of damning emails have been treated solely as the risqué escapades of President Joe Biden’s ne’er-do-well son. However sad this episode might be, we’ve been told it has nothing to do with the president himself. Oh, really?

In fact, based on what we know so far, President Biden could be in a world of legal trouble.

Ordinarily, influence peddling involves a middleman with access to someone powerful. The middleman uses his access to a powerful politician or official to obtain money and/or favors from a third party, who in turn wants favors or access from the powerful official.

Strangely enough, the Supreme Court in recent years has actually softened its treatment of this behavior, in essence saying that what we normally call influence peddling is a part of our democracy, unsavory though it may be.

This allows such curious practices as political lobbying to occur. Essentially, lobbyists are well connected people who sell their access to others. It’s legal.

Legal, except that is, when the politician himself benefits financially. Then it’s garden-variety corruption, a bribe.

The Justice Department has made it clear in recent years that “it is a violation of federal law for any federal, state, or local government official to ask for or receive anything of value in exchange for, or because of, any official act. Public corruption is a federal crime.”

With this in mind, the White House is circling the wagons to argue that, whatever Hunter did is his problem; Joe Biden knew nothing about his escapades. So he has no legal culpability.

Just last weekend, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said of the possibility that Hunter Biden might be prosecuted for selling access to his father: “(They’re) private matters, they don’t involve the president,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”

Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the president stands by his comment that he had never spoken with his son about his overseas business activities.

Not so fast.

Speaking on Fox News, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley noted:

This is how you influence influential people in Washington. You give money to their siblings, their spouses, their children. And that’s what happened here …

Now, the statement that this has nothing to do with the president simply ignores reality. I mean, the president is referred to in many of these emails. And while the press has agreed that the laptop is legitimate, they have really tried to avoid talking about what is on the laptop. And those emails refer to the president under code names like ‘Celtic’ and ‘The Big Guy.’

In one email, a person is told not to use the president’s name.

President Biden’s claim of not knowing about Hunter’s business dealings simply doesn’t hold water. Indeed, a photo from the laptop currently making the rounds shows then-Vice President Biden meeting in the vice presidential office with Hunter’s Ukrainian, Kazakh, and Mexican business associates.

Yet another photo shows Hunter and his father posing with “Kenes Rakishev, a Kazakh oligarch who reportedly worked with the former veep’s scandal-scarred son.”

And all the way back in 2020 when Biden was the Democratic nominee, the tireless New York Post, which deserved a Pulitzer for its reporting, published emails “indicating Hunter Biden introduced his father to a Ukrainian oil executive before the veep pressured Ukrainian government officials to fire the prosecutor involved in an investigation of the shady organization a year later.”

RedState offers a devastating recitation of Joe Biden’s possibly being on the take:

What about the dinner that Joe had with Ukrainian, Russian, and Kazakh associates of Hunter’s, including Russian billionaire Elena Baturina, who allegedly gave one of Hunter’s firms $3.5 million? What’s Joe Biden’s explanation for that?

How about the explanation for what Tony Bobulinski — who used to work for the Bidens — said? He said that Joe was involved in Hunter’s business dealings, that the 10 percent for ‘the big guy’ referenced Joe Biden. This should have done Biden in before the election, but liberal media didn’t press Biden on it. What’s Joe Biden’s explanation for that?

Then there’s this curious communication between Hunter Biden and his daughter, Naomi, about the peculiar financial ties he has with father Joe:

It’s no longer enough for the president to simply say, Sgt. Schultz-like, that he “knew nothing, nothing!” It’s quite obvious he had an active role in Hunter’s business affairs, based on a growing mountain of evidence.

Democrats launched multiple ongoing investigations of Donald Trump starting in 2016 and continuing to this day with little or no evidence. Nothing has been found indicating that he was guilty of anything beyond a brash love for the wonderful country he grew up in and eventually served as president. That was his crime.

Biden, meanwhile, has largely remained untouched and unsullied, at least until recently when both the New York Times and Washington Post admitted the Hunter Biden laptop was the real deal.

The FBI is already reportedly putting evidence before a grand jury. And investigative journalist Paul Sperry reported in 2020 that Biden was “under an active criminal investigation into his role in the Ukraine influence peddling scandal.” We’ve heard little or nothing since.

But with the burgeoning evidence that Joe Biden knew about Hunter’s business dealings overseas and likely benefited from them as well, at minimum, it would seem to require a special counsel to look into the matter. Anything less, given what we now know, would be a coverup. Which, as we know, is always worse than the crime.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Nothing happens to Joe or Hunter. Guaranteed. At worst, Hunter gets a pardon and The Big Guy goes on a rant about Republicans going after his family, and fires a US Attorney that he appointed. And Dementia Joe is likely to be dead before his term is up anyway, so there won’t be any repercussions for him either.

  • If the coverup is worse than the crime, then this cover up will be a doozy.

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!