The former head of the federal government’s office of ethics under Barack Obama rebuked White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday, a day after she dismissed questions from The Post about whether buyers for Hunter Biden’s art were identified. will remain anonymous.
The Post reported last week that five prints of First Son had sold for $75,000 — and that potential buyers attending the upcoming New York show were being scrutinized by a team of lawyers.
“I know it’s your favorite topic, but this, again — it’s still a right of heroism,” Saki said during Tuesday’s briefing. “We still do not know and will not know who buys a painting. And the president is proud of his son.”
The press secretary then cut off further inquiries about the matter by asking: “Do you have another question on anything else? Otherwise, we’re going to move on to some other topics. There’s a lot going on in the world.”
That response attracted the displeasure of Walter Schaub, who directed the US Office of Government Ethics during Obama’s second term and left that position in the summer of 2017.
“These are valid questions,” Shaab began a lengthy Twitter thread. “Disappointed to hear [Psaki] Send a message that WH thinks the public has no right to ask about ethics. After the last 4 years, these questions have never been more important. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but it’s things that matter.”
Schaub and other ethics in government experts have repeatedly warned that the sale of Hunter Biden’s art is likely to attract the interest of potential buyers who want to sway the side of his father’s administration. The questions intensified after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to India, earlier this month attended the first son’s Hollywood show.
“There is no ethics program in the world that can be built around a head of state staff working with a dealer in order to keep the public in the dark about the identities of the individuals who are the leader’s family member.” Pay large sums of money for items of no value. Intrinsic value,” Shaub tweeted on Wednesday. “If it were Trump, Xi” [Jinping] Or [Vladimir] Putin, you’ll no doubt make it a vehicle for funneling cash to the first family in exchange for access or favors. Nor would you suspect that the presence of a monetization of the presidency was outrageous. “
A source told The Post last week that the Georges Burgess gallery had put the screening process in place ahead of the show, which has been postponed until early next year. It was not clear who appointed the legal team to investigate.
Schaub, a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump, tweeted that the 45th president’s moral violations were “worse,” but the distinction “doesn’t matter.”
“It’s all the worse because Biden ran as an antidote to Trump,” he said. “So the message is that it is not only better than Trump, which is far below a standard, but it is the opposite of Trump, which is worse.”
President Biden himself was asked as he left the White House on Friday if he was concerned about possible corruption involving his son’s art sales.
Biden looked a reporter for the Post in the eye and replied, “You’re kidding me.”
“Of course Hunter is a private citizen and can do whatever his conscience tells him,” Schaub tweeted. “But a patriot would not indulge in this profiteering. And the president and his staff should not enforce it by defending it and pushing back against questions. “
The elder Biden’s ties to his son’s business ventures are often questionable.
When Biden was vice president, Hunter Biden served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma for $1 million a year, despite any relevant industry experience, while his father headed the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
And Hunter Biden still co-owns a Chinese investment firm that, according to recently reported business records, formed 12 days after his father joined Air Force Two for a trip to Beijing in December 2013. Was. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is co-owned by Chinese state-owned entities.
Documents and photos from a laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter Biden indicate that Joe Biden attended a 2015 dinner in D.C. with a group of his son’s aides – including a trio of Kazakhs and Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, ex-Moscow mayor Yuri. Luzhkov. A Senate report released in September said a firm linked to Hunter Biden received $3.5 million from Baturina in 2014.
One photo showed the elder Biden posing with a Kazakhstani group and a day later, Vadim Pozharsky, an executive at Burisma, emailed the then-second son to thank him for the opportunity to visit his father.
Photos and emails published by The Post also indicate that in 2015 Joe Biden hosted his son and a group of Mexican business associates at the Vice President’s official residence. In 2016, Hunter Biden apparently emailed one of those aides while aboard Air Force Two for an official visit to Mexico, complaining that “I’ve brought every single person you know to me.” Fing the White House and the Vice President’s house and inauguration.”
In a 2017 email recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop, 10 percent was set aside for the “big guy” as part of a potential deal involving the Chinese energy company. Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinsky said Joe Biden was a “big guy.”
With reporting by Steven Nelson