WASHINGTON — President Biden declined Thursday to answer a question about whether he had pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping on fentanyl exports and the origins of COVID-19 when they met this week — as Republicans in the Chamber are preparing to investigate the Biden family’s extensive financial ties to Beijing.
The two issues have claimed roughly as many American lives in recent years as all of the nation’s wars combined, but a White House reading did not mention any topics after Biden’s three-hour meeting Monday with Xi in Bali, Indonesia.
“President Biden, is it true that you did not mention the origins of fentanyl or COVID to the Chinese president? How could that be true after the deaths of over a million Americans? a Post reporter shouted at Biden on the White House lawn upon his return from Asia.
Biden approached the press corps after hearing the inquiry after midnight, but declined to respond. Instead, he asked a different question about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and contradicted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s assertion that it was not a Ukrainian missile that hit Poland this week.
The president ignored further attempts by the Post to get a response and walked into the White House.
Biden’s family has close business relationships with businesses tied to the Chinese government, and House Republicans said at a Thursday morning news conference they would investigate the financial arrangements next year when they get the power to subpoena records and evidence.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said, “This committee will assess whether this chairman is compromised or influenced by foreign dollars. This is an investigation of Joe Biden.
Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his brother James Biden reaped a financial windfall from China and Joe Biden is said to have played a role in two separate business ventures.
Republicans hammered Biden after the White House released a statement on Tuesday saying Biden had privately lobbied Xi on a dozen issues, including climate change, human rights in Xinjiang and China-Taiwan relations. , but left the origins of fentanyl and the coronavirus off the list.
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China, after a possible leak from a lab conducting risky ‘gain-of-function’ research killed 1,070,947 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. while causing massive economic, social and educational disruption. .
The pandemic death toll in the United States is higher than the number of American deaths in the Civil War and World War II combined.
Meanwhile, fentanyl exported largely from China has prompted an increase in drug overdoses in the United States. More than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, including at least 71,000 from fentanyl and related compounds. In 2019 and 2020, approximately 94,000 additional US deaths were linked to fentanyl. Deaths are rising as the drug is increasingly mixed with non-opioid drugs such as cocaine and counterfeit prescriptions, killing unwitting users.
The number of Americans who died from fentanyl from 2019 to 2021 is greater than the total number of American deaths in the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War, independence, the Mexican–American War, the Spanish–American War, and the War of 1812.
Biden’s rare mentions of fentanyl and the origins of the pandemic contrast with former President Donald Trump who regularly brags about pressuring Xi to clamp down on fentanyl. Trump has floated forcing China to pay $50 trillion in “reparations” for the pandemic if he takes over the White House in 2024.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody tweeted On Tuesday, “Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from fentanyl poisoning, but [Biden] refused to pressure Xi Jinping on China’s role in this deadly crisis when they met face to face. Why won’t Biden fight to save American lives?
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), wrote, “More than 75,000 Americans have died of synthetic drug overdoses in the past year, but President Biden made no mention of fentanyl — often from China — when meeting with Xi Jinping. It’s time for the president to start protecting American lives by standing up to the CCP.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) tweeted“President Biden just met with Chinese President Xi, and the White House has refused to allow reporters to ask about Covid, fentanyl, or the rapid pace at which China is building coal-fired power plants. The American people deserves transparency.
Jeff Clark, director of litigation at the pro-Trump Center for Renewing America, said: “Biden has a serious problem with China and a lot of ‘splainin’ to make about his and his son Hunter’s deep ties to China. Of course, he doesn’t want to get aggressive with Chiarman Xi about the origins of COVID and China’s role in our fentanyl crisis, which is… sort of a reverse form of an Opium Cold War.
In August 2021, the US intelligence community declared a lab leak to be one of two “plausible” theories to explain the origins of the pandemic. At the time, Biden said in a written statement that “the world deserves answers, and I won’t rest until we get them” and that “we all need to better understand how COVID-19 came about in order to to prevent new pandemics”.
But Biden has said very little about the issue since then.
Documents published last year by The Intercept revealed that EcoHealth Alliance used US taxpayer money for Wuhan lab experiments that modified three distinct bat coronaviruses from COVID-19 and found that they became much more infectious among “humanized” mice when human-like receptors were added to them. .
In response to a question from the Post in January, Biden claimed he had pressed Xi to be transparent about the origins of the pandemic during a virtual summit in November 2021, even though the press secretary at the time , Jen Psaki, had given reporters the opposite impression. Biden said his own press team didn’t know because they weren’t in the room for his exchange with the Chinese leader on the subject.
Online business records show first son Hunter Biden still owns a 10% stake in BHR Partners, a Chinese state-backed private equity firm that manages $2.1 billion in assets and plays a leading role in the acquisition of assets abroad.
Hunter Biden co-founded BHR Partners in 2013 weeks after joining then-Vice President Joe Biden aboard Air Force Two on an official trip to Beijing, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hunter introduced his father to new BHR CEO Jonathan Li in a hotel lobby and Joe Biden then wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s children.
The Journal reported that Hunter Biden’s “paid up capital” to set up the company was $425,000, according to company registration records. Throughout 2021, PSAki said Hunter Biden was still working to “unwind” his 10% stake in BHR.
A week after Biden’s 2021 virtual summit with Xi, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Chris Clark, said the stake had been divested. However, records show the first son still owns the stake, and neither Chris Clark nor the White House has provided additional information about the supposed transaction.
In 2016, BHR Partners played a significant role in facilitating a deal in which a Chinese company purchased a Congolese cobalt mine from American and Canadian companies. The deal drew attention last year when it was highlighted by the New York Times and because cobalt is an important material for making electric vehicle batteries.
In another Chinese business venture, Hunter and James Biden earned $4.8 million from CEFC China Energy — an arm of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” foreign influence initiative — in 2017 and 2018, according to the Washington. Post.
A May 2017 email from the CEFC partnership says the “big guy” was to take a 10% discount.
Two former Hunter Biden associates, Tony Bobulinski and James Gilliar, identified Joe Biden as the “big guy,” and Bobulinski says he met Joe Biden about the deal.
The president has denied making money from his son’s overseas business deals and the White House says he stands by his 2019 claim that he never even discussed the companies with his son – despite the evidence that he interacted with Hunter associates in China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.