Editors at Issues and Insights consider President Biden’s prospects for serious problems.

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.”