- An informal White House adviser on China said Beijing gave him information about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son around the same time President Donald Trump called on China to investigate the Bidens.
- “I got quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese,” the adviser, Michael Pillsbury, told The Financial Times.
- Pillsbury’s disclosure came days after China sought to distance itself from the controversy, with a top government official saying the country “has long pursued the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.”
- Trump has publicly urged both China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election, an effort that House Democrats say is an impeachable offense.
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An informal White House adviser on China told The Financial Times he received information from Beijing about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son’s activities in China, the same week that President Donald Trump urged the country to probe the Bidens.
“I got quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese,” the adviser, Michael Pillsbury, told The Times. His comments came after he said during an interview on Fox Business that he raised the issue of the Bidens with Chinese officials when he visited the country last week.
“I tried to bring up the topic in Beijing,” Pillsbury said. “I’ve never seen them get so secretive in my entire life. They would discuss ICBM warheads sooner than talk about what Hunter Biden was doing in China with Vice President Biden.”
Pillsbury’s disclosure came days after China sought to distance itself from the controversy.
“China has long pursued the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.
Trump has repeatedly called on both China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election, even though there is no evidence that the Bidens engaged in any wrongdoing in either country.
“China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said last week while speaking to reporters on the White House lawn.
“So I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” he added, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have long been pushing for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens for corruption. He raised the issue during a July 25 phone call with Zelensky, a conversation that’s now at the heart of a brewing congressional impeachment inquiry looking at whether the president used his public office for private gain.
A White House summary of the call revealed Trump telling Zelensky the US “does a lot for Ukraine,” after which Zelensky brought up that Ukraine wanted to purchase more javelins — a type of missile defense system — from the US.
Trump immediately followed up and told Zelensky he would like Ukraine to “do us a favor, though,” and investigate Biden and his son. Days before the call, Trump had also ordered his administration to hold a nearly $400 million military aid package to Ukraine.
The details of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky first came to light in an explosive whistleblower complaint that a US intelligence official filed against the president in August, and which was released to the public last month. The complaint accused Trump of abusing his power to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election for his own political gain, and possibly dangling hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars as an incentive for Ukraine.
Trump and his allies have downplayed the conversation and said the only reason he wants the Bidens to be investigated is because he cares about corruption. But House Democrats and national-security officials say the conversation is clear evidence that Trump placed his own interests above the US’s by asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponent.
During a meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month, Zelensky told the president to his face that he didn’t want to be involved in the US election.
“I think you read everything. I think you read text. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved to democratic, open elections of USA,” Zelensky told reporters. “We had, I think, good phone call. It was normal.”