In remarks to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Thursday morning, Trump said he discussed Biden’s China work with Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive of the investment company Blackstone.
“I was with the head of Blackstone . . . Steve Schwarzman,” Trump said, according to a video of the remarks obtained by The Washington Post. After alleging that Hunter Biden got $1.5 billion from the Chinese, Trump said he asked Schwarzman, “Steve, is that possible?” Trump said Schwarzman asked, “Who got that?” and Trump responded, “Biden’s son.”
Trump said he asked Schwarzman how that could happen, and the executive responded: “Maybe I shouldn’t get involved, you know it’s very political.”
Schwarzman declined to comment. His spokeswoman, Jennifer Friedman, said in a statement that “Steve never spoke to the President about Joe Biden or his family, nor has he had any conversations with the Chinese about Biden or his family.”
Schwarzman wrote in his just-published autobiography, “What It Takes,” that he traveled to Beijing eight times in 2018 “on behalf” of the Trump administration during trade negotiations. He is unofficially known as Trump’s “China whisperer.”
Schwarzman for years has declined to comment about his many conversations with Trump, so it is unusual for him to dispute Trump’s description of the supposed exchange.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, said Trump’s remarks were part of a pattern of spreading untruths about Hunter Biden, and he criticized Trump for “discussing his discredited conspiracy theories with an unaccountable, private envoy to a foreign country.”
Trump for months has alleged that Hunter Biden has made a fortune from business dealings in Ukraine and China due to his father’s connections.
Earlier this week, a summary of Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine’s president showed that he wanted an investigation into the younger Biden, who got a job at a gas company in that country when his father handled U.S. policy there.
Six months before Hunter Biden got the job in Ukraine, he arrived in Beijing on Air Force Two with his father, who had traveled to China to talk with that country’s officials. Twelve days later, Hunter Biden joined the board of an investment firm whose partners included Chinese entities. Affiliates of the advisory firm planned to raise $1.5 billion.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, said that his client did not acquire a financial stake in the investment company until October 2017, a 10 percent holding that was worth $430,000 in July. At least half of the firm’s stake is owned by Chinese entities, according to business records. Mesires said in a statement to The Post earlier this week that his client “has not received any return or compensation” from the investment.
Nonetheless, Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, have for months said that Hunter Biden got $1.5 billion for the fund and have cited it as evidence of what they call corruption.
Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who has been actively involved in urging Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, said in an interview that he had done no investigation of Hunter Biden in China, had not spoken with any Chinese officials and had not traveled to the country to look into the matter.
Trump on Wednesday said that Hunter Biden “walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China and he’s there with one quick meeting and he flies in on Air Force Two. I think that’s a horrible thing. I think it’s a horrible thing.”
Then, speaking privately to members of the U.S. Mission at the United Nations on Thursday, he recounted his conversation about Hunter Biden’s actions with Schwarzman.
“I say, ‘Steve, what happens when you come off a vice-presidential plane, it’s called Air Force Two, your father’s with you, you walk into a room in China and they give you a fund of $1.5 billion, billion; you make hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars off that.’ And that’s probably not all they gave him. They gave him plenty more, I’m sure. We might never find out.”
Schwarzman runs Blackstone, one of the world’s largest investment firms. When it went public in 2007, a company controlled by the Chinese government bought a 9.9 percent stake, which has since been sold. Blackstone continued to have interests in China, and Schwarzman has helped endow a masters program at the Beijing campus of Tsinghua University.
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.