March 22, 2023

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Republican member of House Intel committee calls for classified briefing on Biden call, Xi

Republican member of House Intel committee calls for classified briefing on Biden call, Xi

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The Republican top The House Intelligence Committee calls for a classified briefing on last week’s call between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping said the committee needed to understand the consequences that the Biden administration would present to Beijing should they choose to assist Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

During an interview with Fox News at the House Republican Issues Conference on Thursday, Ohio Republican Mike Turner said understanding what happened in President Biden’s call with Chinese President Xi Jinping was “certainly important.”

Biden warns XI of ‘consequences’ if China supports Russia, White House says

“Our committee wasn’t briefed on that, and that’s certainly important for our committee to understand what the president has given China, and what President Xi’s responses would be if China should help Russia militarily,” Turner told Fox News.

“There should be absolute consequences for China,” Turner said. “China has made statements that it does not want to enter into a conflict with the Ukrainians, but that arming Russia will make them enter into it.”

Turner said that members of the intelligence committee “do not have a transcript of the call” and “have no information about what even the elements Biden was intending to say would be the consequences for China.”

“This is a very important detail that we need to expedite,” Turner said.

Turner formally requested a briefing from White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Thursday, saying the call “contains important information relevant to the future of US-China relations and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.”

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Turner, in a quick swipe of Biden, said his administration has a “record of weakness.”

MD Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, left, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., are seen during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing Global Threats, at the Rayburn Building on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“I’m certainly very concerned that he might portray weakness again with China as he did with Russia,” Turner said. This could lead to further escalation.”

Biden spoke with Xi last Friday in a secure video call for nearly two hours.

The White House said Biden “outlined the views of the United States, our allies, and our partners on this crisis.”

“President Biden detailed our efforts to prevent and then respond to the invasion, including by imposing costs on Russia,” the White House said.

“The president reiterated his support for a diplomatic solution to the crisis,” the White House added. The two leaders also agreed on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to manage competition between our two countries.

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Meanwhile, the White House said Biden “reiterated that US policy on Taiwan has not changed, and emphasized that the United States continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo.”

“The two leaders tasked their teams with continuing today’s conversation into the critical period ahead,” the White House said.

Shortly after the meeting concluded, China’s Foreign Ministry said Xi stressed “severe challenges” around the world.

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“The Ukraine crisis is something we don’t want to see,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. “Relevant events show once again that state-state relations cannot reach the point of confrontation. Conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest. Peace and security are the most treasured treasures of the international community.”

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“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the world’s two largest economies, we must not only lead the development of China-US relations on the right track, but also shoulder our due international responsibilities and make efforts for world peace and tranquility,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

US intelligence officials said Russia requested China For military and economic aid after the invasion of Ukraine. In an effort to protect intelligence sources, US officials were reluctant to provide details of what kind of assistance was needed.

A senior administration official said this week that the Biden administration has “deep concerns” about China’s “alignment” with Russia amid Moscow’s multi-front war against Ukraine.

The official shared those concerns after Sullivan met his Chinese counterpart, Director of China’s Foreign Affairs Committee Yang Jiechi, last Monday in Rome, Italy.


Meanwhile, if Republicans capture a majority in the House of Representatives after the November midterm elections, Turner has pledged to refocus the House Intelligence Committee on what he “intends” to focus on.

“This committee aims to focus on national security, and that’s what we’re going to focus on,” Turner said.

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The committee has been chaired by Democratic Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) since 2019.

“Our efforts will match intelligence with policy and decision making,” Turner said. “So, in addition to focusing on national security, our goal will be to get the information we receive as notifications to Congress and make sure it is presented to the appropriate decision-making committees, legislate, and fund programs and initiatives to make our country safe.”