Michael Pillsbury, an outside adviser to President Donald Trump on China trade policy, told Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs on Wednesday night that he pressed the Chinese government on issues surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
Last week, despite already facing an impeachment inquiry for pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate a 2020 political rival, Trump publicly called for China to open an investigation into the Bidens. It was later reported that the president mentioned Biden in an earlier call with the Chinese president, reportedly promising to stay quiet on the Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed.
During Pillsbury’s Wednesday appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, the Trump confidant said he was in Beijing a week ago and that the Chinese are currently looking at this impeachment issue as “the weakening of President Trump.”
“They think Nancy Pelosi is a factor in the China trade talks,” Pillsbury added. “In a way, the Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. But that will hold the Chinese back from making the kind of concessions President Trump needs.”
Pillsbury, who has become an extremely influential figure in Trump’s hawkish China trade policy, went on to express his disappointment that the Chinese are apparently leaving the latest round of trade talks early, once again noting that the impeachment inquiry has really affected their view of the Trump administration.
Dobbs, meanwhile, argued that this should show what the “radical Dimms”—Dobbs’ nickname for Democrats—are up to, adding that the “focus should have been on the relationship between the Democratic Party and its collusion with China.” That prompted Pillsbury to casually make a stunning admission.
“I tried to bring up the topic in Beijing,” he said. “Just tell me what happened with Hunter Biden. I have never seen them get so secretive in my life.”
Pillsbury continued: “They would discuss ICBM warheads rather than talk about what Hunter Biden was doing in China with Vice President Biden. That is a big area now where the Chinese know they don’t want any American probe into what happened with Hunter Biden.”
Following Trump publicly urging China to look into the family of a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, several GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in criticizing the president. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) called it a “big mistake” while Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said it was “wrong and appalling.”
Earlier this week, the Chinese government announced that it had no desire to get involved with a Biden investigation, saying it has “long pursued the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.”
Pillsbury later told the Financial Times that he actually received “quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese” during his visit to Beijing last week.
The Trump ally, however, quickly backed away from this claim, denying to C-SPAN that he said this to FT. The reporter on that story, meanwhile, shared the email Pillsbury sent him confirming he received intelligence on Biden’s son from China.
Apparently Mike (@mikepillsbury) denied on C-Span that he told me this (https://t.co/xlKuY17OUk).— Demetri Sevastopulo (@Dimi) October 10, 2019
But here is the email exchange with him last night (and our story: https://t.co/BQgi3TcH1y). https://t.co/8p4Ohcg7vI pic.twitter.com/FEK8LaOgBM
Later Thursday morning, Pillsbury told McClatchy that while he did receive information from the Chinese related to Hunter Biden, it was merely publicly available documents that were already in circulation. He also insisted he never talked to Trump about this and he only asked for the info as research for a book he was working on.
“I have never had any conversation with President Trump about this at any time,” he said. “The information the Chinese gave me is just from the newspaper stories—nothing new.”