What’s it worth?
Attorney General Merrick Garland was pressed Thursday to appoint a special counsel to investigate the art sales of President Biden’s scandal-scarred son Hunter — whose novice works are set to be sold for upward of $500,000.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) began his line of questioning in a House Judiciary Committee hearing by showing two pieces of artwork from Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, listed or sold at Christie’s for $700,000 and $500,000, respectively. Immediately after, he showed a third painting.
“You may recognize this painting is a Hunter Biden. The Hunter Biden painting sold for $500,000,” Buck said, noting that the president’s son lacks an artistic background and was unable to find a gallery to list his artwork before 2020.
“And what happened in 2020 that changed all that, is that his dad became president of the United States. Now a single piece of art from Hunter Biden sells for more than the average American home.”
Buck proceeded to ask Garland if he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, noting his office sent a letter to the Department of Justice making the same request.
“[For] the same reason I’m not to respond to questions about investigations of the former president or anyone else, I’m not going to discuss or otherwise with respect to any US citizen,” Garland said.
Buck pushed again, saying “you are allowed to tell us whether you will appoint a special counsel.”
Garland responded by saying he was unaware that Buck’s office had sent the letter.
As Buck’s time expired, Rep. Eric Swalwell mocked his colleague’s line of questioning saying, “General Garland, you may not get these four hours back, but you may get some art history credit for today.”
Buck’s letter outlined a DOJ criminal tax investigation into Hunter Biden launched last year, noting possible involvement of the president.
“It is now apparent that President Biden could be directly implicated in the ongoing investigations into his son’s money transfers and dealings, raising serious questions regarding whether then Vice President Joe Biden was aware of and possibly benefitted from the influence peddling operation led by his son,” Buck wrote.
“It is now more critical than ever to appoint a special counsel who can lead this investigation in an impartial way. As outlined in 28 CFR § 600, the attorney general has the right to appoint a special counsel to investigate and prosecute matters and individuals that present a conflict of interest for the department when it is in the public interest. Allowing the investigation to continue to be handled according to the normal practices of the department means that Senate-confirmed political appointees who can only be removed from office by the president are now overseeing an investigation into his son’s, and possibly his, financial dealings related to a prior, or possibly ongoing, influence-peddling scheme.”
“No person is above the law, not even the president of the United States of America,” Buck added.
The attorney general was later pressed again on the issue by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who noted that other communications from Hunter Biden have indicated his finances were intertwined with the president’s.
“If that doesn’t call for an independent investigation into the president, what would?” the California Republican asked.
“I’m not going to comment about this investigation, but because everyone knows there is an investigation going on in Delaware by the US attorney, who was appointed by the previous administration, and I can’t comment on any further than that,” Garland said.
As recently as this month, Hunter Biden has been criticized for the price of his artwork and lack of transparency regarding the buying process. At least five prints of his artwork have already been sold for $75,000 each, and a team of lawyers is vetting potential patrons who plan to attend his upcoming gallery show in New York City in the spring.
The Georges Berges Gallery sold the prints before the Oct. 1 opening of a “pop-up” presentation in Los Angeles, according to a report earlier this month.
It’s unclear who purchased the reproductions — which cost a fraction of the top price of $500,000 for an original piece by Hunter Biden — or if any more were sold after the LA show opened.
Walter Shaub, director of the US Office of Government Ethics under President Barack Obama, has called for the sales to be canceled — or for the names of buyers to be disclosed to prevent secretive influence-buying.
Earlier this month, the president was asked by The Post if he was concerned about potential corruption involving his son’s art sales.
Biden answered, “You gotta be kidding me.”