Why Obama’s former ethics czar is highly critical of Hunter Biden’s lucrative art sales
There have been many bad-faith “scandals” linked to the president’s son. Walter Shaub thinks this one should be taken seriously.On Twitter, Shaub has been regularly criticizing the Biden White House for its handling of Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s efforts to sell his works of art for as much as $500,000. White House officials recently announced an agreement with the art seller by which the identities of buyers will be shielded from Hunter to avoid the transactions being used to curry favor with the president’s family, but Shaub argues that the prices are egregious, and at a minimum more light needs to be shined on the deals.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden and China's Xi Jinping have slurped noodles together in Beijing. They've shared deep thoughts about the meaning of America during an exchange on the Tibetan plateau. They've gushed to U.S. business leaders about developing a sincere respect for each other. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice President Joe Biden hold T-shirts students gave them at the International Studies Learning Center in South Gate, Calif., Feb. 17, 2012. As President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping prepare to hold their first summit on Monday, Nov. 15, the increasingly fractured U.S.-China relationship has demonstrated that the ability to connect on a personal level has its limits. Biden nonetheless believes there is value in a face-to-face meeting, even a virtual one like the two leaders will hold Monday evening. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
The American president has held up his relationship with Xi as evidence of his heartfelt belief that good foreign policy starts with building strong personal relationships.
Leon Panetta on top security threats to U.S.
Host Michael Morell discusses the way forward in Afghanistan and threats posed by Russia with Panetta and his former chief of staff, Jeremy Bash.Download, rate and subscribe here: iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher.
But as the two leaders prepare to hold their first presidential meeting on Monday, the troubled U.S.-China relationship is demonstrating that the power of one of Biden’s greatest professed strengths as a politician — the ability to connect — has its limits.
“When it comes to U.S.-China relations, the gaps are so big and the trend lines are so problematic that the personal touch can only go so far,” said Matthew Goodman, who served as an Asia adviser on the National Security Council in the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations.
White House officials have set low expectations for Monday’s virtual meeting: No major announcements are expected and there’s no plan for the customary joint statement by the two countries at the end, according to administration officials.
Judge Tanya Chutkan's Ruling Against Donald Trump: Full Transcript
The U.S. district judge wrote in her ruling against Trump that "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President."Trump had sued Representative Bennie Thompson in his capacity as chair of the committee in order to prevent the committee from accessing documents in the National Archives.
The public warmth — Xi referred to Biden as his “old friend” when Biden visited China in 2013 while the then-U.S. vice president spoke of their “friendship” — has cooled now that both men are heads of state. Biden bristled in June when asked by a reporter if he would press his old friend to cooperate with a World Health Organization investigation into the coronavirus origins.
“Let’s get something straight: We know each other well; we’re not old friends,” Biden said. “It’s just pure business.”
Biden nonetheless believes a face-to-face meeting — even a virtual one like the two leaders will hold Monday evening — has its value.
“He feels that the history of their relationship, having spent time with him, allows him to be quite candid as he has been in the past and he will continue to be,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in previewing the encounter.
Biden and Xi, ages 78 and 68 respectively, first got to know each other on travels across the U.S. and China when both were vice presidents, interactions that both leaders say left a lasting impression.
China hails Xi and Biden talks, after year of growing strain
BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday hailed a virtual meeting between President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden, saying they had a candid and constructive exchange that sent a strong signal to the world. The positive description of the meeting came in sharp contrast to heated exchanges between the two nations earlier this year. The talks appeared to mark what both sides hoped would be a turnaround in relations, though major differences remain. © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency Chinese President Xi Jinping, fourth from right waves as he greets U.S. President Joe Biden via video link from Beijing, China on Tuesday, Nov.
Of late, there have been signs that there could be at least a partial thawing after the first nine months of the Biden administration were marked by the two sides trading recriminations and by unproductive exchanges between the presidents’ top advisers.
Last week, for example, the U.S. and China pledged at U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, to increase their cooperation and speed up action to rein in climate-damaging emissions. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Joe Biden walk down the red carpet on the tarmac during an arrival ceremony in Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sept. 24, 2015. As President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping prepare to hold their first summit on Monday, Nov. 15, the increasingly fractured U.S.-China relationship has demonstrated that the ability to connect on a personal level has its limits. Biden nonetheless believes there is value in a face-to-face meeting, even a virtual one like the two leaders will hold Monday evening. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Monday's meeting — the two leaders' third engagement since Biden became president — comes amid mounting tensions in the U.S.-China relationship. The two held long phone calls in February and September where they discussed human rights, trade, the pandemic and other issues.
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Patrick Mahomes hasn't been putting up the point totals we're accustomed too, but a healthier D has Kansas City back in first place. I’m sure Andy Reid wouldn’t have minded seeing Sunday’s game look a little different than it did. Maybe in a perfect world, Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t have been taking big shot after big shot from Micah Parsons, the NFL’s newest freak-show defender. I’m sure he didn’t want four of his offense’s first eight possessions ending without a single first down. And the turnovers he, or any football coach, could do without.
Biden has made clear that he sees China as the United States' greatest national security and economic competitor and has tried to reframe American foreign policy to reflect that belief.
His administration has taken Beijing to task over committing human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in northwest China, squelching pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong and resisting global pressure to cooperate fully with investigations into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Xi Jinping, China's president and Communist Party chief, left, eats a Hawaiian macadamia chocolate gifted by Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, not seen, during a governors meeting held inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall as Vice President Joe Biden, right, looks on in Los Angeles., Feb. 17, 2012. As President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping prepare to hold their first summit on Monday, Nov. 15, the increasingly fractured U.S.-China relationship has demonstrated that the ability to connect on a personal level has its limits. Biden nonetheless believes there is value in a face-to-face meeting, even a virtual one like the two leaders will hold Monday evening. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Tensions have also risen as the Chinese military has flown increasing numbers of sorties near the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
Washington Nationals sued by ex-employees over vaccine firing
The Washington Nationals are being sued by two former employees who were fired for refusing to comply with the team’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Lawrence (Larry) Pardo and Brad Holman were pitching coaches in the Nats’ organization. The two refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons and were fired by the Nats as a result. The team instituted a mandate on Aug. 12 that went into effect on Sept. 10, leading to the firing of both men.Now the two have filed a lawsuit against the club, TMZ Sports reports.
Chinese officials have signaled that Taiwan will be a top issue for the talks. Biden has made clear that his administration will abide by the long-standing U.S. “One China" policy, which recognizes Beijing but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. Chinese military forces held exercises last week near Taiwan in response to a visit by a U.S. congressional delegation to the island.
Other U.S. presidents have held that bonding with a geopolitical adversary can be a good foreign policy strategy. George W. Bush faced ridicule after his first meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin when he claimed that he had “looked the man in the eye” and “was able to get a sense of his soul.” Bush would go on to host the Russian leader at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and bring him to his father’s estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, where the 43rd and 41st presidents took the Russian president fishing.
Putin ultimately frustrated Bush and the relationship was broken after Russia’s 2008 invasion of its neighbor Georgia.
Donald Trump went from disparaging North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “rocket man” to declaring the two “fell in love” in an exchange of letters as the U.S. president unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Kim to give up the regime’s nuclear weapons program.
Biden’s personal approach to foreign policy is in part informed by the fact that he’s been on the international scene for much of the last half-century, author Evan Osnos noted in the biography “Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.”
“You can drop him into Kazakhstan or Bahrain, it doesn’t matter — he’s gonna find some Joe Blow that he met 30 years ago who’s now running the place,” Julianne Smith, a Biden adviser, told Osnos.
Bob Stoops not interested in Florida head-coaching job
Stoops firmly denied having any interest in the Florida job, and he made it sound like he doesn’t particularly want any other job right now. Bob Stoops on the vacant Florida job: "I love what I'm doing with TV…I enjoy watching my son play, and the Sooners…I'm not looking to get in to that [job]." Said Florida is one of the best jobs out there, though, and has great [email protected] @sportsanimal — Matt Ravis (@mattravis) November 24, 2021 “I love what I’m doing with TV. … I enjoy watching my son play, and the Sooners,” Stoops said.
Some top Biden administration officials speculate that with Beijing planning to host the Winter Olympics in February and Xi preparing to be approved by Communist Party leaders to serve a third five-year term as president next October — unprecedented in recent Chinese history — that there's plenty of reason for the Chinese leader to look to stabilize the relationship in the near term, according to a person familiar with administration thinking. The individual insisted on anonymity to discuss private deliberations. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden as they pose for photos at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 4, 2013. As President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping prepare to hold their first summit on Monday, Nov. 15, the increasingly fractured U.S.-China relationship has demonstrated that the ability to connect on a personal level has its limits. Biden nonetheless believes there is value in a face-to-face meeting, even a virtual one like the two leaders will hold Monday evening. (AP Photo/Lintao Zhang, Pool, File)
Slowing economic growth and a brewing housing crisis also loom large for Beijing. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a CBS' “Face the Nation” interview aired Sunday warned the deepening of Beijing's problems could “have global consequences.”
At the same time, Biden, who has seen his polling numbers diminish at home amid concerns about the lingering coronavirus pandemic, inflation and supply chain problems, is looking to find a measure of equilibrium on the most consequential foreign policy matter he faces.
Biden would have preferred to hold an in-person meeting with Xi, but Xi has not left China since before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual meeting was proposed after Biden mentioned during a September phone call with the Chinese leader that he would like to be able to see Xi again.
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