WH now claims Biden pressed Xi on fentanyl, COVID origins

NOW they tell us …

A White House official contacted The Post late Monday to allege that President Biden pushed Chinese President Xi Jinping to halt fentanyl exports and to be transparent about COVID-19’s origins during their first in-person summit last week — despite neither issue being mentioned in official recaps put out by Washington and Beijing.

Republican members of Congress slammed Biden for seemingly failing to use a three-hour meeting on Nov. 14 to press China’s powerful “president-for-life” on the dual scourges that have killed nearly as many Americans since 2019 as all US wars combined. 

“The president did raise both,” the official, who asked not to be named, claimed to The Post — days after some Republicans drew a link between the apparent omission and the Biden family’s deep financial ties to Beijing.

However, Biden mentioned neither issue in brief public remarks with Xi. The topics also did not come up at a subsequent press conference, nor in a White House statement that listed more than a dozen other issues discussed by the leaders, including climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping greeted each other during their first in-person summit.
REUTERS

“The president raised the importance of transparency on COVID origins, as he has before with President Xi,” the official insisted. “The president has been clear since he took office that China needs to be more transparent with the global community so we can get to the bottom of this. And yes, President Biden also did raise the importance of counter-narcotics efforts, including fentanyl.”

The White House official said that she was briefed by people in the room for the Xi meeting and argued that the omission of the topics from readouts and press statements should not be interpreted to mean they weren’t raised.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it and it’s definitely not anything intentional as our readouts are on the shorter end and don’t include every topic,” the person said. “I would also make very clear that these topics aren’t any less important just because they weren’t in the readout, as the president has repeatedly raised COVID origins with President Xi “

A picture of A bag of Fentanyl laced Oxy M30 pills.
“…And yes, President Biden also did raise the importance of counter-narcotics efforts, including fentanyl,” the White House official said.
Drug Enforcement Agency

Before embarking on the trip, White House officials gave the distinct impression that the topics were low on the agenda, with neither mentioned during a background call for reporters previewing Biden’s ambitions for his first sitdown with Xi since taking office last year.

Returning from Asia on Thursday night, Biden heard but chose not to answer a question from The Post about whether it was true that he failed to mention the topics. A reporter for the Daily Caller, Diana Glebova, attempted to ask White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday about whether Biden raised COVID-19 origins at the end of a briefing, but did not get an answer.

The White House said that Biden did mention fentanyl and the pandemic origins to Xi as House Republicans vow to use their renewed subpoena powers next year to determine the extent of the president’s involvement in a pair of business deals involving his family and entities connected to the Chinese government. 

“This committee will evaluate whether this president is compromised or swayed by foreign dollars. This is an investigation of Joe Biden,” incoming House oversight committee chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said at a Thursday press conference.

There are at least two separate Biden family business interests in China that are a focus for House investigators. The first pertains to an investment company called BHR Partners which was formed by then-second son Hunter Biden in 2013. The other deals with a firm called CEFC China Energy, which reportedly paid Hunter and his uncle Jim Biden millions in 2017 and 2018 as their powerful relative mulled a presidential bid.

Hunter Biden co-founded BHR Partners in 2013 within weeks of 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 dad to incoming BHR CEO Jonathan Li in a hotel lobby and Joe Biden later wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s children.

Online business records indicate that Hunter Biden still co-owns a 10% stake in BHR, despite his father’s insistence there would be no family-business-related conflicts of interest during his presidency.

Joe Biden allegedly was involved with the other Chinese venture as well.

Hunter and Jim Biden earned $4.8 million from CEFC China Energy — an arm of Beijing’s foreign-influence “Belt and Road” initiative — in 2017 and 2018, the Washington Post reported following a review of Hunter Biden’s laptop documents.

Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski says he met with Joe Biden in May 2017 regarding the CEFC deal and a May 2017 email from another associate, James Gilliar, says the “big guy” was due a 10% cut. Bobulinski and Gilliar have both identified Joe Biden as the “big guy.”

Biden rarely mentions efforts to determine the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic or to stop fentanyl exports from China — a notable contrast with his predecessor Donald Trump, who has floated forcing China to pay $50 trillion in pandemic “reparations” if he retakes the White House in 2024, after boasting repeatedly that he pressured Xi to adopt the death penalty for fentanyl traffickers to curb exports.

In August 2021, the US intelligence community said a laboratory release in Wuhan, China, was 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 will not rest until we get them” and that “we all must better understand how COVID-19 came to be in order to prevent further pandemics.” But he has said very little since then.

Documents published last year by The Intercept revealed that EcoHealth Alliance used US taxpayer dollars on Wuhan lab experiments that modified three bat coronaviruses distinct from COVID-19 and discovered they became much more infectious among “humanized” mice when human-type receptors were added to them. 

A picture of a medical staff wearing protective clothing during the height of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 virus has killed 1,073,115 Americans, according to the CDC, while causing economic, social, and educational disruption.
AFP via Getty Images

In response to a question from The Post in January, Biden claimed that he pressed Xi to be transparent on the origins of the pandemic during a November 2021 virtual summit, even though then-press secretary Jen Psaki had given reporters the opposite impression. Biden said that his own press team was unaware of him doing so because they weren’t in the room for that exchange.

After a July phone call between Biden and Xi, Jean-Pierre ducked questions on whether Biden pressed the Chinese leader on COVID-19 origins but said that he did raise fentanyl.

The COVID-19 virus has killed 1,073,115 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while causing massive economic, social and educational disruption.

Fentanyl exported largely from China, meanwhile, has caused US drug overdoses to spike. More than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021 — at least 71,000 of them from fentanyl and related compounds. In 2019 and 2020, roughly 94,000 additional American deaths were linked to fentanyl. Deaths are rising as the drug is increasingly mixed into non-opioid drugs such as cocaine and counterfeit prescriptions, killing unwitting users.