More details are emerging from the recent testimony of Hunter Biden’s art dealer, George Bergès.
We previously discussed how Bergès confirmed that the accounts of buyers flocking to buy Hunter’s art was false and that most of the art was purchased by his Democratic donor patron, Kevin Morris.
Not only did Bergès shatter White House claims of a carefully constructed ethical system to keep Hunter from knowing the identity of purchasers, Bergès testified that Hunter expressly demanded to know the identity.
Various experts objected to the sales as a serious ethical problem of donors using the purchases to assist President Biden and his family.
The media dutifully reported at the time how the White House was grappling with the ethical questions and, according to the Washington Post, “the White House officials have helped craft an agreement.”
It was portrayed as unprecedented and unyielding.
The White House continued to swat down questions by citing an ethical plan created for the sales. Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the White House, said in a statement that “the President has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example.”
Then White House spokesperson (and now MSNBC host) Jennifer Psaki stated:
“Well, I can tell you that after careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards […] But all interactions regarding the selling of art and the setting of prices will be handled by a professional gallerist, adhering to the highest industry standards. And any offer out of the normal course would be rejected out of hand. And the gallerist will not share information about buyers or prospective buyers, including their identities, with Hunter Biden or the administration, which provides quite a level of protection and transparency.”
Yet, Bergès reportedly testified that he had no contacts with the White House and Hunter knew the identity of the purchasers of most of the art.
Notably, Bergès was reading these same reports in the news but never objected to the alleged misrepresentation.
He admitted that he read of those reports and was confused.
A staffer asked:
“When you’re seeing in the press that the White House is putting in certain safeguards regarding an ethics agreement but you’ve had no conversations with [the] White House, I mean, did you ever say to Hunter Biden, ‘Hey, where’s this coming from?’”
“I might have. I probably did, yeah.”
He admitted that he was surprised by the coverage “[b]ecause I hadn’t had any communication with the White House about an agreement.”
That, of course, was never reported. Instead, the media dutifully reported how there was this comprehensive ethical plan in place.
What was particularly notable is that, despite the false White House claims and extensive coverage, Hunter appears to have discarded any such limits.
Berges testified that artists usually do not know who buys their art. So not only did Hunter not comply with the agreement with the first, this was a departure from standard operating procedure to let him know about the purchasers: “…I don’t know how it was phrased or—but I remember that there—that that was the difference…That part was different. Normally, the gallerist does not let the artist know who the collectors are…The first one was that I was required to disclose who the buyers were. In the second one, I was required to not disclose the buyers.”
The most important testimony, in my view, is still the massive purchase by Morris. This Democratic donor was introduced to Hunter at a Democratic fundraiser for the first time not long before reportedly giving him millions to pay off his taxes and support his lavish lifestyle. He then reportedly purchased most of the art as the media was reporting how hot Hunter was as a new emerging artist. The claims of walling off the identity of purchasers and the high demand for his art proved to be false.
For his part, Bergès says that he no longer carries Hunter’s art.
He did confirm that he previously did speak with President Biden in person and on the phone during the period when he was selling his son’s art.
The media, however, now appears to be, again, largely ignoring the story and what it says about not just the ethical questions but its own prior coverage.