White House

Chinese officials provided open-source material on Hunter Biden to Trump adviser

An adviser to President Donald Trump who received material from Chinese officials last week on Hunter Biden’s dealings with Beijing told McClatchy on Thursday that its contents do not expand on publicly available information.

Michael Pillsbury, an informal White House adviser on China policy, told the Financial Times on Thursday that he received “quite a bit of background” in recent days from Chinese officials on the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Trump publicly encouraged the Chinese to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings in Beijing last Friday.

“I have never had any conversation with President Trump about this at anytime,” Pillsbury told McClatchy, stating that he requested the information for his next book on U.S.-China relations. “The information the Chinese gave me is just from the newspaper stories — nothing new.”

Pillsbury said that he has not spoken to Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, or any other State Department officials about his communications with the Chinese related to Hunter Biden.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials responded to the president’s request with a statement vowing to stay out of U.S. internal affairs.

But U.S. national security and intelligence agencies have concluded that China remains intent on influencing the U.S. political environment ahead of the 2020 election “to promote their interests and policy preferences on various issues,” according to one law enforcement official.

A White House official told McClatchy that the National Security Council stands by its assessment made public in June that Beijing intends to influence the election to suit its interests.

The FBI has expanded its task force on election security beyond examining Russian efforts ahead of the 2020 race to include intelligence activities by China, Iran and North Korea.

Michael Wilner joined McClatchy as its White House correspondent in 2019. He previously served as Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, where he led coverage of the Iran nuclear talks, the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2016 US presidential campaign. Wilner holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is a native of New York City.
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