Biden silent on talks with Xi over fentanyl, COVID origin

Biden silent on talks with Xi over fentanyl, COVID origin

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday refused to answer a question about whether he pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping on fentanyl exports and the origins of COVID-19 when they met this week — as House Republicans prepare to investigate the Biden family’s extensive financial links to Beijing.

The two issues claimed about as many American lives in recent years as all of the nation’s wars combined, but a White House readout didn’t mention either topic after Biden’s three-hour Monday meeting with Xi in Bali, Indonesia.

“President Biden, is it true that you did not mention fentanyl or COVID origins to the Chinese president? How could that be true after more than 1 million Americans died?” a reporter for The Post shouted at Biden on the White House lawn as he returned from Asia.

Biden approached the press corps after hearing the after-midnight inquiry, but declined to answer. He took a different question instead about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and contradicted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s claim that it wasn’t a Ukrainian missile that struck Poland this week.

The president ignored additional attempts by The Post to get an answer and walked into the White House.

Biden’s family has deep business relationships with Chinese government-linked companies and House Republicans said at a Thursday morning press conference that they will investigate the financial arrangements next year when they reclaim the power to subpoena records and testimony.

Xi JinPing and Joe Biden.
President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for three hours last week.

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

Biden’s son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden reaped a financial windfall from China and Joe Biden allegedly played a role in two separate business endeavors.

Republicans hammered Biden after the White House released a statement Tuesday saying that Biden privately pressed Xi on about a dozen topics including climate change, human rights in Xinjiang and China-Taiwan relations, but left fentanyl and coronavirus origins off the list.

The COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China, after possibly leaking from a lab doing risky “gain of function” research and has 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 inside the US is greater than the number of American deaths in the Civil War and World War II combined.

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.

Plastic bags of Fentanyl are displayed on a table.
Fentanyl exported largely from China has caused US drug overdoses to spike.

The number of Americans who died from fentanyl from 2019-2021 is greater than the combined US fatalities in the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Revolutionary War, 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 contrasts with former President Donald Trump’s regularly boasts that he pressured Xi into cracking down on fentanyl. Trump has floated forcing China to pay $50 trillion in “reparations” for the pandemic if he retakes the White House in 2024.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody tweeted Tuesday, “Tens of thousands of Americans die from fentanyl poisoning every year, but [Biden] refused to press 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 from synthetic drug overdoses in the past year, yet President Biden made no mention of fentanyl—often sourced from China—in his meeting with Xi Jinping. It’s time the president started protecting American lives by standing up to the CCP.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) tweeted, “President Biden just met with China’s President Xi, and the White House 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 deserve transparency.”

Jeff Clark, director of litigation at the pro-Trump Center for Renewing America, said, “Biden has a serious China problem and a lot of ‘splainin’ to do on his and his son Hunter’s deep connections to China. Of course he doesn’t want to get aggressive with Chiarman Xi on the origins of COVID and the role of China in our fentanyl crisis, which is… a kind of reverse form of a cold Opium War.”

Joe Biden.
President Biden refused to answer a question about whether he pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping on fentanyl exports and the origins of COVID-19.

In August 2021, the US intelligence community said a lab leak is 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 Biden has said very little about the matter 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. 

Covid patient in China.
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China, after possibly leaking from a lab doing risky “gain of function” research.
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 at a November 2021 virtual summit, even though then-press secretary Jen Psaki had given reporters the opposite impression. Biden said his own press team was unaware of him doing so because they weren’t in the room for his exchange with the Chinese leader on the topic.

Online business records that indicate first son Hunter Biden still holds a 10% stake in BHR Partners, a Chinese state-backed private equity firm that manages $2.1 billion in assets and takes a prominent role in acquiring overseas assets.

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.

The Journal reported that Hunter Biden’s “paid-in capital” to establish the company was $425,000, according to corporate registration records. Throughout 2021, Psaki said Hunter Biden was still working to “unwind” his 10% stake in BHR.

One week after Biden’s 2021 virtual summit with Xi, Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark said the stake had been divested. However, records show that the first son still holds the stake, and neither Chris Clark nor the White House provided further information on the supposed transaction.

In 2016, BHR Partners was influential in facilitating a deal in which a Chinese firm bought a Congolese cobalt mine from American and Canadian companies. The transaction gained significant attention last year when it was spotlighted by the New York Times and because cobalt is an important material for making electric vehicle batteries.

In a different Chinese business venture, Hunter and James Biden earned $4.8 million from CEFC China Energy — an arm of Beijing’s foreign-influence “Belt and Road” initiative — in 2017 and 2018, according to the Washington Post.

A May 2017 email about the CEFC partnership says the “big guy” was due a 10% cut.

Two former Hunter Biden associates, Tony Bobulinski and James Gilliar, identified Joe Biden as the “big guy,” and Bobulinski says he met with Joe Biden about the deal.

The president has denied making any money from his son’s overseas business deals and the White House says he stands by his 2019 claim that he has never even discussed the enterprises with his son — despite evidence that he has interacted with Hunter’s associates from China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.