House Democrats are investigating Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao over reports she nixed elaborate trip to China after ethics officials complained she wanted family members in the shipping business to sit in on key meetings
- House Democrats are investigating whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao used her official position to benefit a family business
- Chao's father and sisters own the Foremost Group, which ships goods to China
- House Democrats want all communications and documents between the Department of Transportation and the company
- The Democrats' letter to Chao cites a June New York Times report on a trip she cancelled to China after officials raised ethics concerns
- A Transportation Department spokesperson told DailyMail.com that it's an 'attempt to undermine' Chao's 'long career of public service'
- Chao's husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been a vital ally of President Trump's
House Democrats are investigating whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao used her official position to benefit a family business.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee has requested all communications and documents between the department and the Chao family business, the Foremost Group, as part of its investigations into Donald Trump's administration.
‘The committee is investigating several allegations relating to your service as secretary of transportation, including troubling questions about whether you are using your office to benefit yourself and your family,' Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote to her in a letter.
‘Federal regulations prohibit federal employees from using their public office for “the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity,”’ Cummings wrote.
A Transportation Department spokesperson told DailyMail.com that it's an 'attempt to undermine' Chao's 'long career of public service.'
'The Department has received a letter seeking information on a variety of topics based on publicly available information and news coverage. We look forward to responding to the Committee’s request. Media attacks targeting the Secretary’s family are stale and only attempt to undermine her long career of public service,' the spokesperson said.
Cummings' letter cites news reports, including a June article from The New York Times, questioning Chao’s use of her position in regards to the Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by her father and sisters that is based in New York and operates a fleet that transports goods to and from China.
The oversight committee expressed concern Chao appeared alongside her father in Chinese media interviews – some with the official Department of Transportation seal visible.
‘During some of these interviews, your father touted your influence within the United States government and boasted about his access to President Trump on Air Force One.’
Chao cancelled a 2017 trip to China after the U.S. embassy flagged ethics concerns over her efforts to include family members with business ties there in meetings.
Chao's father, James S.C. Chao, founded Foremost Maritime Corporation, a U.S. shipping company with substantial business connections in China – a nation engaged in a trade war with the U.S. following President Trump's imposition of tariffs to protest Chinese trade practices.
It is a major shipping company that provided Elaine Chao and her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with millions in inherited wealth following the death of Chao's mother.
According to a New York Times report, the U.S. embassy there raised ethics concerns, which then were taken up by the State Department and Chao's Transportation Department. Chao had been seeking to include family members in some of her meetings and even having U.S. officials help coordinate their travel.
The paper obtained the documents following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
'She had these relatives who were fairly wealthy and connected to the shipping industry,' a State Department official who was involved told the paper. 'Their business interests were potentially affected by meetings.'
A U.S. official at the American embassy in Beijing first raised the concerns in an email, titled: 'Secretary Chao – Ethics question.'
The email is heavily redacted, and states: 'I am writing you because Mission China is in the midst of preparing for a visit from Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.' What follows has been blocked out, concealing the substance.
Chao subsequently cancelled her trip, planned for late October 2017, just days after the official raised the concerns and media inquiries followed.
Another State Department official, David Rank, who served as the deputy chief of mission at the time, called it 'alarmingly inappropriate.'
The Chao family company ships raw materials mined in China to the U.S., and obtains financing from Chinese lending institutions.
A Transportation Department spokesman said the Times story leaves out 'important context,' and said Chao 'has been one of this country’s greatest advocates for the U.S. flag ship industry and today, the Maritime Administration has the largest operating budget in its history in no small part due to her advocacy.'
Chao family members have collectively donated more than $1 million to McConnell's campaigns over many years. A 2014 analysis of McConnell's financial reports revealed that most of a jump in his net worth, to a range of between $9.2 million and $36.5 million at the time, came from wealth inherited through Chao.
Funds worth between $5 million and $25 million in a money market account were a '“gift from a filer’s relative.' Chao family members became generous donors to the state party of Kentucky, McConnell's home state. Donations over two decades totaled $525,000, according to the analysis.
'I’m proud to have had the support of my family over the years,” McConnell said in a statement to the paper.
China and the 2020 Election
By Steve McCann
On April 25, 2019, Joe Biden declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Seven days later, on May 3, 2019, the Chinese sent a diplomatic cable to the Trump Administration blowing up a 150-page draft agreement that had taken many months to negotiate. The cable was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands. In each of the seven chapters of the trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: theft of intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.
A coincidence or a premeditated scenario?
Joe Biden, in his days in the Senate, was very partial to China, as he voted against revoking China’s most-favored nation status and in 2007 opposed the idea of applying any tariffs on China despite their obvious unfair trade practices. However, it was as Vice President that he became wholly enamored with the country and its leadership.
For example, while in China, Biden, in August of 2011, defended and approvedof China’s one-child policy which brutally used forced abortions to implement the law. In the same year Biden was given the assignment, by Barack Obama, to be the point man on China due his close personal relationship with Xi Jinping, then Vice-President and heir apparent to the Presidency. (Xi Jinping is currently President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, the most powerful figure in China’s political system).
Due solely to Joe Biden’s influence, in 2011, less than a year after starting Rosemont Seneca Partners, essentially a three-man investment firm with Chris Heinz (stepson of John Kerry), Biden’s son Hunter, who had no previous experience in private equity, was in China to explore business opportunities with Chinese state-owned enterprises. These meetings occurred just hours before Joe Biden met with the Chinese president in Washington. Later in the same year, Hunter had a second meeting with many of the same Chinese financial powerhouses -- just two weeks after his father, the Vice President, conducted U.S.-China strategic talks in Washington with Chinese officials.
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping dine at the State Department, Valentine's Day, 2012
(Official White House Photo by David Lienemann, croppped)
Meanwhile Joe Biden never missed an opportunity to downplay China’s threat to the United States. In May of 2013, during a commencement speech he assured those concerned the Chinese were “going to eat our lunch” that they had nothing to be alarmed about as China had immense problems and an inability to think differently. In May of 2014 Biden described China as a nation incapable of producing innovative products and ideas. (Two weeks after declaring his 2020 candidacy Biden, in Iowa, said, “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man…they can’t even figure out how to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.” After a massive backlash, he walked back some of those comments a few days later by saying “I don’t suggest China is not a problem.”
In December 2013, Biden flew to Beijing on Air Force Two with his son Hunter on an official trip ostensibly to discuss tensions over disputed territories in the East China Sea. Joe and Hunter were ushered into a red-carpet meeting with a delegation of various Chinese officials. Hunter remained with the delegation while his father met with President Xi Jinping. During these meetings Joe Biden struck an extremely conciliatory and friendly tone with the Chinese leadership -- much to the dismay of America’s allies in the region.
Ten day later, Hunter’s company, Rosemont Seneca, signed an exclusive $1 Billion (later expanded to $1.5 Billion) deal with the state-owned Bank of China, creating an investment fund called Bohai Harvest, with money guaranteed by the Chinese Government. As Peter Schweizer, who was the first to unveil these conflicts of interest, wrote in his book Secret Empires “the Chinese Government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers” Rarely has there been a more stark illustration of being “compromised by a foreign power.”
And in 2014, another arm of Hunter’s budding business empire, Rosemont Realty, began negotiating multi-billion dollar deals with Gemini Investments, a Chinese firm with ties to the China Ocean Shipping Company Ltd. which reportedly operates as an extension of the Chinese military and who eventually acquired 75% of Rosemont Realty in order to purchase commercial real estate in the United States.
Anyone who has dealt with the Chinese Government or the myriad of entities controlled by the government can attest: any foreign business transaction with China always has a requisite or implied quid pro quo that oftentimes does not involve monetary considerations. Once entangled in this web it is nearly impossible to escape. It would be naïve to believe that the Biden family, particularly Joe, are not embroiled in this labyrinth of expectations and demands.
In the years and months before he decided to throw his hat in the ring, it had to be obvious to Joe Biden and in particular those close to him that his mental acuity is rapidly failing, not to mention that his and Hunter’s questionable business activities in China and the Ukraine would be exposed on a grand scale. Why then would he willingly take on a grueling 18-month marathon of running for president? As the timing of Biden’s announcement and Chinese abrupt volte face on the trade agreement implies, one must, therefore, assume he was coerced into declaring his candidacy as a pawn in the chess game the Chinese are playing in order to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.
If Xi Jinping coerced his old friend Joe Biden into running, then he placed his prestige and fate on the line that China would be able to hold out in the ongoing trade war and achieve a favorable outcome in any negotiations with Biden at the helm. While Xi Jinping is powerful, he still is one of seven members of a standing committee of the Politburo (25 members) that can oust him. At this point Xi Jinping cannot be perceived as losing face by caving to Donald Trump and reinstituting the agreement made in the spring of 2019.
Therefore, while the threat of further escalation in the trade war will recede there is little chance of anything substantive happening as intransigence will be the rule the day between now and November 2020. However, China’s growing internal problems and failing economy will dramatically escalate, which could force the Politburo to either remove Xi Jinping, or accept, with clinched teeth and a renewed determination to defeat Donald Trump, the basic terms of the May 2019 trade agreement.
Joe Biden’s everyday performance on the campaign trail reinforces the reality that he will not be the Democratic Party presidential nominee. Thus, whoever is nominated by the Democratic Party will, by default, be backed by the Chinese -- who will do whatever is legal, illegal or unethical to defeat Donald Trump. The actions the Russians were falsely accused of in the 2016 election will be child’s play by comparison.
It appears that the Chinese may have made a major blunder in April and May of 2019. A blunder with potential major ramifications for China and, if Donald Trump is defeated in 2020, the United States.
Committee Probes Biden-Linked, Chinese Military-Boosting Tech Sale
Tom Brenner/Getty Images
15 Aug 2019
The Senate Finance Committee is probing the Obama administration’s 2015 decision to approve the sale of a U.S. company with insight into “military applications” to the Chinese government and an investment firm run by former Vice President Joe Biden’s youngest son, Hunter Biden.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the committee’s chairman, sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday requesting documents relating to the sale of Henniges, a Michigan-based automotive company, to Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). The latter was formed in 2013 by a merger between a subsidiary of the Bank of China and Rosemont Seneca, a firm started by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Since AVIC was a subsidiary of the Chinese government and Henniges, the producer of “dual-use” anti-vibration technology with military application, the deal required approval from the Obama administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The panel — made up of representatives from 16 different federal bodies, including the departments of State, Treasury, and Defense — is required to review any transaction that could lead to a foreign person gaining control of an American business.
In question is whether CIFUS was influenced by Obama administration officials, most notedly Joe Biden and John Kerry, who had an interest in seeing the deal move forward.
“The direct involvement of Mr. Hunter Biden and Mr. Heinz in the acquisition of Henniges by the Chinese government creates a potential conflict of interest,” Grassley wrote.
The senator noted in his letter that AVIC’s bid for Henniges should have immediately set off alarm bells in the Obama White House. In 2007, AVIC “reportedly involved in stealing sensitive data regarding the Joint Strike Fighter program,” which it later “reportedly incorporated … into China’s J-20 and J‑31 aircraft.”
Even more troubling, however, is that bid was facilitated at the same time China was staking out a more adversarial role in global affairs. At the time, Beijing was suspected of undermining U.S. cybersecurity by underwriting hackers stealing governmental data. There was also simmering tension over disputes in the South China Sea.
Despite the threat to national security, the $600 million deal was approved by CIFUS, with AVIC purchasing 51 percent of the company and BHR taking ownership of the other 49 percent. Upon purchase, an industry newsletter stated the deal was the “biggest Chinese investment into US automotive manufacturing assets to date.”
In his letter to Mnuchin, Grassley compared the deal to the Uranium One scandal, which arose when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved the sale of a Canadian mining company to Rosatom, the state-owned Russian nuclear energy conglomerate. It later emerged that both investors in the company and Russian energy officials had donated heavily to the Clinton Foundation.
“As with the Uranium One transaction, there is cause for concern that potential conflicts of interest could have influenced CFIUS’ approval of the Henniges transaction,” Grassley wrote. “Accordingly, Congress and the public must fully understand the decision-making process that led to the Henniges approval and the extent to which CFIUS fully considered the transaction’s national security risks.”
This is not the first time that Hunter Biden’s ties to China have caused grief for his father’s political career. As Peter Schweizer, a senior contributor at Breitbart News, revealed in his bestselling book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Hunter Biden signed the $1.5 billion deal creating BHR in 2013 only ten days after visiting China aboard Air Force Two with his father.
Eight Things to Know About the Biden Family’s Culture of Corruption
14 Aug 2019
The family of former Vice President Joe Biden has earned millions of dollars since the start of his political career, often from dealings with heavy political overtones.
Biden, the frontrunner among 2020 Democrats, often touts his middle-class bonafides on the campaign trail. Although Biden did not become a multi-millionaire until he left the White House in 2017, the same cannot be said of his family. In fact, several members of the Biden clan became immensely wealthy over the span of the former vice president’s 40-year political career.
Breitbart News is providing an in-depth breakdown of a few instances in which Joe Biden’s political career and his family’s financial interests seemed to intersect.
1. Joe Biden’s younger brother, James Biden, secured generous bank loans.
In the wake of Joe Biden’s upset election to the U.S. Senate in 1972, his younger brother James was able to secure a series of generous bank loans to start a Delaware night club.
Although James Biden had no business experience and a net worth of less than $10,000 at the time, he was able to arrange more than $160,000 in start-up capital for the venture. When the nightclub proved to be unsuccessful, generating more than $500,000 of debt by 1975, James Biden and his business partners were thrown a life-line by a Pennsylvania bank that loaned him a further $300,000.
During the same time period James Biden was receiving the extensive lines of credit, Joe Biden was sitting on the Senate Banking Committee, which had purview over the financial sector. A specific jurisdiction of the committee was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which provides bailouts to banks if they should become over-leveraged.
2. Joe Biden’s top campaign contributor hired his youngest son Hunter right out of law school.
Shortly after Joe Biden was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, his largest campaign contributor, the credit card issuer MBNA Corp., hired his son for an undisclosed role. The job raised eyebrows from good government groups because MBNA employees had just donated $63,000 to Joe Biden’s reelection campaign in what appeared to be a coordinatedmanner to sidestep federal campaign finance regulations.
Clouding the picture even further was that, at the time, Hunter Biden was a 26-year-old recent graduate of Yale Law School with no prior banking or business experience. Both father and son defended the job offer, claiming nothing improper had or would result because of the arrangement.
“Unfortunately, no matter where I went to work, some people would make an issue of it,” the younger Biden told the Delaware News Journal in November 1996 when the job was announced.
Despite his role being unknown at the time of his hiring, when Hunter Biden left the company in 1998 to join the Clinton-era Commerce Department it was as a senior vice president.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Joe Biden was championing bankruptcy reform legislation endorsed by financial interests and credit card companies like MBNA.
3. An MBNA executive purchased Biden’s house for the full asking price in a deal that appeared facilitated by the company.
A senior MBNA executive purchased Biden’s 10,000 square foot colonial mansion in the Wilmington, Delaware, suburbs for the asking price of $1.2 million in February 1996. The sale garnered notice because larger and newer homes in the vicinity sold for less. The issue became a minor campaign problem for Biden’s reelection but was quickly dismissed when the senator provided local media appraisal forms showing his home was worth the value for what it was sold.
Byron York, however, investigated the matter in an exposé for the American Spectator and found that properties appraised around the same value in the vicinity had “sold for a good deal less” than at what they were valued on paper.
“In comparison, it appears [the MBNA executive] simply paid Biden’s full asking price,” York wrote. “And, according to people familiar with the situation, the house needed quite a bit of work; contractors and their trucks descended on the house for months after the purchase.”
As York also noted, it appeared that MBNA may have played a role in facilitating the purchase. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that “in 1996 MBNA reimbursed [the executive] $330,115 for expenses arising from the move.” Of that total, $210,000 “was to make up for a loss [the executive] suffered on the sale of his Maryland home.”
4. Hunter Biden remained on MBNA’s payroll while Joe Biden was writing bankruptcy reform legislation.
Throughout the early 2000s, Hunter Biden remained on MBNA’s payroll as a consultant while his father was writing and pushing the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The arrangement, which did not become public until after the law was passed, started in 2001 after Hunter Biden had left his position in the Commerce Dept. MBNA was paid monthly consulting fees, with some claiming they ranged upwards of $100,000, to advise the company on online banking issues.
The 2005 bankruptcy tightened regulations to make it extremely more difficult to declare bankruptcy. It was heavily favored by MBNA and other giants in the banking and finance sectors. Many consumer protection advocates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have claimed the bill benefited special interests at the expense of consumers. Some have even suggested the law only served to hasten and aggravate the recession of the late 2000s.
As previously reported by the New York Times, Biden worked against many of his own fellow Democrats in Congress to ensure the final version of the bill was free of provisions opposed by companies like MBNA.
Biden “was one of five Democrats in March 2005 who voted against a proposal to require credit card companies to provide more effective warnings to consumers about the consequences of paying only the minimum amount due each month,” the Times noted.
5. Joe Biden paid his family members with campaign cash.
During his failed 2008 presidential campaign, Joe Biden paid more than $2 million to his family members and their business. According to the Washington Times, the money went to a company that was a long-time employer of Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens. Biden also directed funds to a law firm started by his old campaign treasurer, which at the time also employed his youngest son Hunter.
6. James and Hunter Biden sought to monetize off Joe Biden’s political standing.
In 2006, close to when Joe Biden assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launched his second presidential campaign, James and Hunter Biden purchased a hedge fund called Paradigm Global Advisors. Although neither man had a strong background in finance, James and Hunter Biden reportedly believed they could leverage Joe Biden’s political connections to their benefits.
“Don’t worry about investors,” James Biden purportedly told Paradigm’s senior leadership upon taking over the fund, as reported by Politico. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.”
Paradigm’s executives claim that James and Hunter Biden saw the hedge fund as a way to “take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money” to Joe Biden’s campaign account.
“We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” James Biden allegedly told Paradigm’s staff.
Hunter and James also tried to solicit labor unions to invest their pension funds in Paradigm by relying on Joe Biden’s long record of advocating in favor of collective bargaining.
The efforts proved to unsuccessful, though, with James and Hunter Biden choosing to strip and sell the company off by 2010 after a number of bad decisions, including partnering with a Ponzi scheme.
7. James Biden’s received a $1.5 billion contract to build houses in Iraq while Joe Biden was overseeing the region.
After his foray into the world of high finance ended disastrously, James Biden joinedHillstone International LLC as a vice president in 2010. The company, a subsidiary of Hill International, at the time, was pursuing technology and construction projects around the globe.
Although the company had been losing money for some time, James Biden’s arrival resulted in something of a reversal in fortune. Within six months of James Biden joining the firm, Hillstone was the recipient of $1.5 billion dollar contract to build 100,000 houses in war-torn Iraq. The deal, which was never finalized because outside funding failed to materialize, quickly caught attention as Joe Biden was overseeing the Obama administration’s policy in the region.
Both the Obama White House and Hillstone denied Joe Biden had anything to do with the deal, pointing to the fact the contract was awarded through a South Korean group working to build homes in Iraq. Despite the denials, Irvin Richter, the founder of Hill International, did admit James Biden may have had something to do with the deal.
“Listen, his name helps him get in the door, but it doesn’t help him get business,” Richter told Fox Business in 2012 when discussing James Biden. “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier but it doesn’t mean success. If he had the name Obama he would get in the door easier.”
Complicating matters was the fact James Biden was likely to get rich if the deal went through. Fox Business reported that a group of minority partners, which included James Biden, owned 49 percent of Hillstone. The other 51 percent was owned by the company’s parent group, Hill International. Given Hillstone’s profit breakdown structure, James Biden and the other minority partners would have been eligible to split more than $735 million after the deal was completed
8. Hunter Biden’s firm scored a $1.5 billion deal with the Bank of China only days after Joe Biden and his youngest son visited the country.
Peter Schweizer, a senior contributor at Breitbart News, revealed in his bestselling book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends that Hunter Biden’s firm signed a multi-billion dollar with a subsidiary of the state-owned Bank of China only ten days after he visited the country with his father aboard Air Force Two.
In a SiriusXM Breitbart News Tonight radio interview from last year, Schweizer explained how the Biden-China deal unfolded:
“In December of 2013, Vice President Joe Biden flies to Asia for a trip, and the centerpiece for that trip is a visit to Beijing, China,” said Schweizer. “To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea. They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. So basically, no challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.”
China, Not Russia, the
Ten weeks of protests, some huge, a few violent, culminated Monday with a shutdown of the Hong Kong airport.
Ominously, Beijing described the violent weekend demonstrations as "deranged" acts that are "the first signs of terrorism," and vowed a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators.
China is being pushed toward a decision it does not want to make: to use military force, as in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, to crush the uprising. For that would reveal the character of President Xi Jinping's Communist dictatorship, as well as Beijing's long-term plans for this semi-autonomous city of almost 7.5 million.
Yet this is not the only internal or border concern of Xi's regime.
Millions of Muslim Uighurs in China's west are in concentration camps undergoing "re-education" to change their way of thinking on loyalty, secession and the creation of a new East Turkestan.
In June, a Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Philippine fishing boat, leaving its 22 crewmen to drown. The fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese boat.
President Rodrigo Duterte's reluctance to resist China's fortification in the South China Sea of the rocks and reefs Manila claims are within its own territorial waters has turned Philippine nationalism anti-China.
China's claim to Taiwan is being defied by Taipei, which just bought $2.2 billion in U.S. military equipment including Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles.
Any Taiwanese declaration of independence, China has warned, means war.
While Taiwan's request to buy U.S. F-16s has not yet been approved, in a rare visit, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen stopped over in the U.S. recently, before traveling on to Caribbean countries that retain diplomatic relations with Taipei. Beijing has expressed its outrage at the U.S. arms sales and Tsai's unofficial visit.
The vaunted Chinese economy is growing, at best, at half the double-digit rate of a decade ago, not enough to create the jobs needed for hundreds of millions in the countryside seeking work.
And talks have been suspended in the U.S.-China trade dispute, at the heart of which, says White House aide Peter Navarro, are Beijing's "seven deadly sins" in dealing with the United States:
China steals our intellectual property via cybertheft, forces U.S. companies in China to transfer technology, hacks our computers, dumps into our markets to put U.S. companies out of business, subsidizes state-owned enterprises to compete with U.S. firms, manipulates its currency, and, despite our protests, ships to the USA the fentanyl drug that has become a major killer of Americans.
Such practices have enabled China to run up annual trade surpluses of $300 billion to $400 billion at our expense, and, says Navarro, have caused the loss of 70,000 factories and 5 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
Moreover, China has used the accumulated wealth of its huge trade surpluses to finance its drive for hegemony in Asia and beyond.
With President Donald Trump threatening 10% tariffs on $300 billion more in Chinese exports to the U.S., Xi must decide if he is willing to end his trade-war tactics against the U.S., which have gone on during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. If he refuses, will he accept the de-coupling of our two economies?
Only Trump has taken on the Middle Kingdom.
If the American people and Congress are willing to play hardball and accept sacrifices, we can win this face-off. The U.S. buys five times as much from China as we sell to China. The big loser in this confrontation, if we stay the course, will not be the USA.
For three years, the U.S. establishment has not ceased to howl about Russia's theft of emails of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.
Yet the greatest cybercrime of the century was Beijing's theft in 2014 of the personnel files of 22 million applicants and employees of the U.S. government, many of them holding top-secret clearances.
Compromised by this theft, said then FBI Director James Comey, was a "treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government."
"A very big deal from a national security ... and counterintelligence perspective," said Comey. And Xi's China, not Putin's Russia, committed the crime. Yet America's elites appear to have forgotten this far graver act of cyberaggresion.
Undeniably, Russia is a rival. But Putin's economy is the size of Italy's while China's economy challenges our own. And China's population is 10 times that of Russia, and four times that of the USA.
Manifestly, China is the greater menace.
Are Americans willing to make the necessary sacrifices to force China to abide by the rules of reciprocal trade?
Or will Trump be forced by political realities to accept the long-term and ruinous relationship we have followed since granting China permanent MFN status in 2001?
This issue is likely to decide the destiny of our relations and the future of Asia, if not the world.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.
Feinstein’s Ties to China Extend Beyond Chinese Spy
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein speaks during a Committee hearing on Cambridge Analytica and data privacy in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 2018. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Last week’s revelations that a Chinese spy served on the staff of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for almost 20 years, should be shocking no one.
The unidentified agent, who was in place as recently as five years ago, was Feinstein’s driver. He also served as a “gofer” in her Bay Area office and a “liaison to the Asian-American community.” He sometimes attended functions at the Chinese consulate, as a stand-in for the senator.
At the time the spy was discovered by the FBI, Feinstein was chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee. Feinstein says she forced the agent into retirement, but no other staff were informed of the circumstances behind his exit, and no charges were filed.
Feinstein had been warned two decades ago that she might be targeted by Chinese intelligence.
The senator issued a statement on March 10, 1997, that the FBI had warned her and five other senators that the Chinese government might try to “funnel illegal contributions to her campaign and other Congressional campaigns, but she said the information had not influenced her position or her vote on any issue,” according to The New York Times.
“[Feinstein] said that while ‘the information was vague and nonspecific,’ she had concluded that she should ‘be very cautious’ in dealing with Asian-American contributors,” the NY Times report stated.
Feinstein would obviously be of interest to Chinese intelligence for the classified information she might possess through her position on the intelligence committee.
She might also be the target of “influence operations”—a subtler approach, by which Chinese operatives would try to steer Feinstein into promoting policies that might benefit the Chinese regime.
According to the article, “For many years, Ms. Feinstein has tried to promote friendship and trade with China, and she has countered critics of the Chinese human-rights record by emphasizing what she described in a Senate speech last year as ‘major improvements in human rights’ there.”
Conciliatory to Communists
Feinstein’s conciliatory approach to communist governments began in the mid-1950s, when she served in the Stanford University student government.
Before her senior year, Dianne Goldman, as she was then known, traveled to Europe on a student trip led by Stanford political science professor, James T. Watkins. The agenda included a possible meeting with Yugoslav communist revolutionary Marshal Josip Broz Tito.
In January 1955, a vigorous debate erupted on the Stanford student executive, over whether to support a proposed visit of seven Soviet journalists to the United States.
According to Stanford Daily reports of the time, executive member Sam Palmer asserted that “nothing can be lost in allowing them to come over.”
He was supported by both Goldman and Don Peck, who claimed that it was important to show “Russia that the United States is not an Iron Curtain country—that we are willing to let Communists enter.”
The ayes won, and Goldman went on to personally host the delegation from the Soviet Writers Union when they toured Stanford’s campus later that year.
Thirty years later, while serving as mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein issued an official city proclamation in support of that year’s World Festival of Youth and Students, held in Moscow.
This international propaganda event was organized by the Soviet-controlled World Federation of Democratic Youth and was supported in the United States by the Communist Party USA and similar groups.
Feinstein traveled to Moscow in December of that year as part of a trade delegation of 450 U.S. businessmen and public officials.
A little over a year later, on Jan. 27, 1987, Soviet Consul General Valentin Kamenev presented Feinstein with a Soviet streetcar: “A streetcar named desire.” Also present at the ceremony was Viktor Zhelezny, deputy chief of public transport for the Russian Republic.
Bridges to Communist China
Building bridges to the People’s Republic of China, however, seems to have been an even higher priority for Feinstein.
One of Feinstein’s first acts on becoming mayor of San Francisco in January 1979, was to visit Shanghai to establish sister-city relations.
The next apparent priority was re-establishing passenger airline service between China and the United States. Service was restored on Jan. 8, 1981, after a “32-year hiatus when a Boeing 747 with 139 Chinese passengers arrived exactly on time at San Francisco International Airport,” according to The New York Times.
Feinstein and Chinese Consul General Hu Ding-yi held a ribbon-cutting ceremony, “which included a cake, decorated with ‘CAAC [Civil Aviation Administration of China] Welcome to San Francisco,’ and two bottles of champagne.” Feinstein described the landing as “an historic and exciting occasion.”
Feinstein went on to visit Shanghai several times in her official capacity and built a close personal relationship with then-Mayor Jiang Zemin.
According to the San Jose Mercury: “He [Jiang] once invited her and her husband to see Mao Tse-tung’s bedroom in his old residence, the first foreigners to do so. Feinstein had entertained Jiang in San Francisco, dancing with him as he sang ‘When We Were Young.'”
This relationship proved fruitful in 1999, when President Bill Clinton was pushing to bring China into the World Trade Organization.
A visit to Washington that year by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, which many had hoped would seal the deal, produced nothing. Relations got even worse after U.S. bombers accidentally destroyed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade that May.
Feinstein, stepped in to offer assistance to the administration. She volunteered to use her personal relationship with now-Chinese regime leader Jiang, to get negotiations back on track.
In August 1999, the White House dispatched Feinstein to China, with a hand-written note to Jiang from President Clinton, urging a resumption of talks.
“Senator Feinstein played a critical role in paving the way for this critical trade agreement,” White House press officer Elizabeth Newman said.
Feinstein and Jiang met Aug. 16 in the Chinese coastal city of Dalian, where the senator handed over President Clinton’s letter.
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury in November 1999, Feinstein said, that she felt the only way China would enter into WTO negotiations again was with the backing of Jiang.
Feinstein said, in offering her services as an intermediary to Clinton and national security adviser Sandy Berger, “I said I’d be prepared to do it if they felt it would be helpful, and they said they did think it would be helpful and please do it.”
Jiang was “receptive and particularly pleased that Clinton had taken the time to personally write a note to him,’’ Feinstein said.
“I think he listened, and we had substantial discussions on the subject. … I was successful in getting the Chinese interested in beginning to resume negotiations on the subject,” Feinstein said in the November 1999 interview.
Significantly, Feinstein said she expected approval of the new trade status, which would remove the “annual congressional review that many believe continues to put pressure on China to reform its economy and human-rights record.”
In other words, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would get the trade status it coveted, without having to do anything of significance to improve its abysmal human-rights record.
China was admitted to the World Trade Organization and has used that trade access to build the world’s second-strongest economy, and a world-class military.
If anything, the CCP’s human-rights record is worse today. Certainly, their repressive technologies are far more powerful.
At the time, Feinstein’s colleague, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed grave concerns about the deal.
“Once they get permanent (normal trade relations status), all leverage from the US on behalf of business is over because they have what they want permanently,” Pelosi said, in the San Jose Mercury article. “They have violated their agreements in terms of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, they have violated their agreements in terms of trade, they have violated their agreements on international covenants on human rights. Why is that we think they are then going to honor their commitments they make for WTO?”
All in all, it was an incredible victory for the Chinese government.
Feinstein has done more for the CCP than other any serving U.S. politician.