Chinese Billionaire’s Network Hyped Hunter Biden Dirt Weeks Before Rudy Giuliani
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
Weeks before the Post published its Hunter Biden report, a YouTube channel linked to Steve Bannon-backer Guo Wengui broadcast conspiracies about “hard disks” full of Biden dirt.Adam RawnsleyAllison QuinnJustin BaragonaMartha MercerBlake MontgomeryKatie BakerUpdated Oct. 16, 2020 2:51PM ET / Published Oct. 16, 2020 4:57AM ET
Weeks before the New York Post began publishing what it claimed were the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive, a Sept. 25 segment on a YouTube channel run by a Chinese dissident streamer, who is linked to billionaire and Steve Bannon-backer Guo Wengui, broadcast a bizarre conspiracy theory. According to the streamer, Chinese politburo officials had “sent three hard disks of evidence” to the Justice Department and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi containing damaging information about Joe Biden as well as the origins of the coronavirus in a bid to undermine the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Three days later, a Twitter account linked to Guo and Bannon’s Himalaya movement subsequently amplified an edited clip of the segment alongside the pledge of a “Bombshell… 3 hard disk drives of videos and dossiers of Hunter Biden’s connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have been sent to Nancy Pelosi and DOJ. Big money and sex scandal!”
Many of the claims made in the September video are absurd on their face. And the video leaves it unclear whether Guo and his media empire had foreknowledge of the Post’s impending story or whether their endless conspiracy theorizing simply handed them a lucky coincidence that only looks prescient in hindsight. But this wasn’t the first time that Guo’s media empire reinforced narratives that aligned with Team Trump’s. Guo’s outlets repeatedly pushed various debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus as either a Chinese lab accident or an intentional bioweapon.
Nor are these social-media posts Guo’s only link to the president’s close associates. While Guo’s ties to Bannon have long been known—Bannon was arrested for fraud in August on a 152-foot-long yacht reportedly owned by Guo—the billionaire appears to have also joined forces with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in the former New York mayor’s relentless anti-Biden dirt-digging crusade. The Twitter accounts of Guo’s outlets GNews and the Guo-associated Voice of Guo Media retweeted unsubstantiated corruption claims about the former vice president and his son this week, including the Post report published Wednesday that centered on a hard drive that Bannon told the Post about in late September and which Giuliani later provided to the paper. Bannon was also playing up the Hunter Biden hard drive around the same time as Guo’s network first started promoting it, telling a Dutch TV station in late September, “We have the hard drive. I have the hard drive of Hunter Biden.”
The Post has featured Guo- and Bannon-backed work before. In July, the story of a Chinese virologist who fled to the U.S. and accused Beijing of a massive coverup was circulated by the Post and Fox News and reposted on GNews. Two months later, the Post published a flurry of stories on the scientist, Li-Meng Yan, and her claims that COVID-19 was manufactured in a Wuhan lab. (Her claims were quickly disputed by fellow virologists.) As The Daily Beast first revealed, the study Yan referred to was published by a pair of nonprofit groups linked to Bannon.
Guo, Bannon, and Giuliani did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.
While Guo has been busy smoking with Rudy and promoting COVID-19 and Biden family disinfo, he’s also been gearing up for the launch of his newest venture, a shadowy clothing line called G-Fashion.
The fashion enterprise has a Rudy tie-in, too. In a weird video that Rudy Giuliani posted to YouTube on Wednesday, a young woman named Jayne Zirkle talks to Trump’s personal lawyer about some “advertising” she’s been doing—apparently unpaid—and Giuliani declares that she’s “going to be the most famous model in China.” Giuliani then proceeds to speak in an exaggerated faux-Chinese accent that plays off stereotypes, and bows to the camera while intoning, “Jayne Zirkle, Jayne Zirkle.”
A quick glance at Zirkle’s MAGA-happy Twitter account reveals what she’s been modeling: G-Fashion baseball caps and bomber jackets. Both G-Fashion and its associated “G-Club” are being promoted by Guo as a vehicle for soliciting money from Chinese nationals to prop up his and Bannon’s self-declared “government in exile.”
In a video uploaded to YouTube in June 2020, Guo—who also goes by Miles Guo or Miles Kwok—describes the new venture, part of his “G-Series.” As he rails at Chinese government limits on how much money nationals can transfer offshore, and exhorts his “brothers-in-arms” not to give money to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) but to him instead, Guo touts something called the “Himalaya Reserve” as a way to get better returns on investment. He announces the impending pre-sale of “G-dollar[s],” his very own cryptocurrency, along with the chance to buy membership in the “G-Club.” For $50,000—the “top-level membership” for G-Club—Guo promises a deal on “G-Fashion,” too, which he calls a “platform for everyone to enjoy the high-quality fashionable life.” Guo then urges his followers to buy “stock” in G-Fashion and assures them “we legally worked out how to run G-Fashion in the future.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/PfoeM-pegWc?&enablejsapi=1&playsinline=0&autoplay=0
The same month, “GFashion Media Group Inc.” was incorporated as a foreign business corporation at an address on East 64th Street in New York that is also linked to Guo in several other lawsuits against him (the address appears to house one of the offices of Guo’s lawyer, Aaron Aubrey Mitchell).
But G-Fashion’s rollout seems to have hit some snags over the summer. In a post on his media site GNews—which, as BuzzFeed revealed, had a contract with Bannon and has been posting fake news about COVID-19 and China—Guo uploaded another video announcing that G-Fashion and G-Club would be delayed until Oct. 16. He then again pitched the sale of shares in the venture to “fellow fighters within China.” A painful-to-watch, nearly two-minute “fashion show” posted on GNews late last month hyped an upcoming “big day,” but mostly stuck to pulsating, slow-motion shots of Guo smoking a cigar in a “G” hat and smiling in a pinstriped suit.
In a video for GNews, the exiled mogul explained the extent of the G-Fashion line and the origins of its namesake. “G-Fashion does not only have clothes, but also shoes, underwear, socks. Clothes for both men and women 60-70 percent of which are women’s clothes,” Guo says, addressing his news channel’s audience. “There are also clothes for kids and the elderly. What I want to tell everyone is you will see that the biggest characteristic of G-Fashion is the lack of age restriction.”
The “G” in G-Fashion isn’t a vanity nod to Guo’s own name, like his news channel. Instead, Guo says the letter is a reference to other less self-serving concepts “Gold, God, Good, Give. This is our G-Fashion and the origin of the entire G-Series.”
The first IRL signs of the “G-Fashion” venture showed up on social media over the past few weeks, going largely under the radar on an Instagram account apparently linked to the Guo-backed Rule of Law Foundation and Zirkle’s private Twitter account.
In one awkwardly cheerful group photo posted earlier this week to the Instagram account of Himalaya Canada, which is linked to Guo’s media empire, Bannon and Guo can be seen sporting “The New Federal State of China” baseball caps as they embrace Zirkle in her cap featuring the G-Fashion logo.
The hats are more than just a fashion statement, however: “The New Federal State of China” refers to the vehemently anti-Beijing movement created by Guo and Bannon that seeks to establish a government in exile of China but has gotten more attention for its misinformation on COVID-19. (The movement made an awkward debut in New York City last June by flying a bunch of “New Federal State of China” banners over the city, but New Yorkers were mostly just confused by the stunt. The group also has a branch operating in Australia called Himalaya Australia. The Twitter account for Himalaya Global is also very active at pushing out Bannon and Guo media appearances and COVID-19 disinfo, including claiming Dr. Anthony Fauci is in bed with the CCP.)
“From today the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will no longer be the lawful government of China!” Guo, accompanied by Bannon, said in a livestream at the time of the New York launch.https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4dzmDhJ6oQ?&enablejsapi=1&playsinline=0&autoplay=0
G-Fashion, which is slated to launch on Friday—apparently with Giuliani’s young assistant serving as one of the brand ambassadors—certainly appears to be an extension of Guo’s New Federal State of China movement, which also has in its orbit GTV Media, a company started by Bannon and Guo last spring that is now under scrutiny by federal investigators. In one video on G-Fashion stock shares, Guo explicitly says they will go toward “supporting [the] New Federal State of China.”
Several accounts linked to fundraising for GTV Media were frozen after the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission began a probe into $300 million the company raised in a private offering this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. Some investors had also reportedly detected red flags concerning the company and subsequently demanded refunds.
As part of his “G-Club” scheme—which, as Guo ticks off in one video, involves “GTV, G-Dollar, G-Coin, G-Fashion, G-Club and and the New Federal State of China”—the billionaire flogs what appears to be his own cryptocurrency. In a post on GNews, he touts G-Coin as “a tradable and exchangeable online community currency” that will “be used in the intelligence market. That is using G-coins to purchase intelligence and news that can reveal the truth.” (Guo likes purchasing intelligence—he sued a private intelligence firm after allegedly paying it to dig up dirt on his former countrymen, including porn habits, money scandals, or children out of wedlock.)
“The next step is that all pure profits of G-Fashion, G-News and the platform (GTV) are used as reserves of G-coins. Then this reserve will be used to buy gold,” the post exclaims. Bannon, for one, has a long obsession with gold reserves and virtual gold farming. As The Daily Beast revealed, his nonprofit teamed up with a company linked to alleged gold scammers who preyed on elderly conservatives, and Bannon once invested in a company, founded by the extremely shady crypto-mogul Brock Pierce, that meddled in the World of Warcraft virtual gold marketplace.
So far, the only glimpses of the fashion line suggest it’s not much of a fashion line at all, beyond a few cheap-looking threads. And it might not have gotten much attention if not for the intriguing comments that Zirkle, Giuliani’s young assistant, made in accidentally recorded audio after one of his podcasts earlier this week.
“This is you?” Giuliani asked, as Zirkle apparently showed him pictures of herself modeling the G-Fashion clothes from out of view. “Well how ’bout he pays you? Want me to work something out with him?” Giuliani said, without naming Guo. He went on to tell Zirkle she’d be “the most famous model in China” as someone off-camera mentioned the Himalaya Australia movement linked to Guo, apparently reading off the modeling photos.
Photos Zirkle posted to Twitter days earlier with the caption “Wearing G Fashion” show the teen in a plain black baseball cap with a “G” stitched in gold in Old English font, and an oversize jacket or top featuring largely the same design with the phrase “G Forever.”
A promotional photo for the G-Fashion line appeared on an obscure, pro-Guo Twitter account on Tuesday. The photo, which features Zirkle with her face down to show off her hat, displayed the same clothes but with a slick and colorful background design. A separate Twitter account, which features as its avatar an inexplicably romantic illustration of the Chinese billionaire alongside a much younger looking, much more Bruce Campbell-esque Bannon in his signature brown barn jacket, also promoted Zirkle’s G-Fashion posts, exclaiming, “I love G Fashion so much, it will shock the fashion world!” A third account, posting on Oct. 14, shows off G-Fashion leggings alongside the slogan, “God Good Gold Goal Give.”
It’s unclear how Zirkle came into Giuliani’s, Bannon’s and Guo’s orbit, although her family has a deep GOP pedigree. Her mother, Lori Saxon—whose Facebook cover photo shows a picture of herself and Zirkle beaming on either side of Giuliani, posted in September 2019—describes herself as a “former political appointee [in the] Reagan administration” and claims that she testified on behalf of Clarence Thomas during his contentious Supreme Court nomination hearings in which he was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill. Saxon has posted pictures of herself and her daughter with Thomas, Diamond & Silk, and in the Rose Garden on Sept. 25 of this year.
Zirkle and Saxon did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.
Zirkle has followed in her mother’s conservative footsteps, becoming an avid MAGA influencer. In one interview with OAN, Trump’s favorite Russian-propaganda channel, Zirkle claims she was hounded out of her high school because of her support of the president.
Guo, too, has been in the Trumpworld orbit pretty much from the beginning, paying the $200,000 initiation fee to become a member of the president’s Florida golf resort Mar-a-Lago, which Trump has dubbed the “Southern White House.” But Guo’s membership soon became a headache for the administration in the run-up to Trump’s first summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017, due to Guo’s fugitive status in China.
At one point, Trump had reportedly considered deporting Guo after the Chinese government called for his extradition in a letter delivered to Trump by casino mogul Steve Wynn in 2017. After presenting the letter during a policy meeting, the president reportedly said “we need to get this criminal out of the country,” only for aides to remind him that Guo was a Mar-a-Lago member, eventually talking him out of the decision and ensuring the deportation was scuttled. In fact, Guo’s attempts to obtain asylum have been a dividing point among Trump allies for a while.
Bannon, meanwhile, was the president’s chief strategist at the time of Wynn’s letter to Trump. Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy has also been tied to the attempt to help China extradite Guo, and in October, Broidy was charged with violating lobbying laws in connection to that case, in which he allegedly used his political ties to help China’s and Malaysia’s governments.
Bannon’s financial relationship with Guo began shortly after Bannon’s ouster from the White House in August 2017. The two began lunching together in Washington during that fall and by the end of the year, Guo had loaned him $150,000. Eventually, that ballooned to a $1 million-a-year contract for Bannon to consult for Guo Media. By 2018, the pair began appearing regularly on its GNews website.
Before long, Bannon was flying around on Guo’s private plane while the self-proclaimed dissident of the Chinese Communist Party—who has also been accused of being a spy for the CCP—promised to donate $100 million to a Bannon-led charity that would target China. (Guo has vehemently denied any espionage claims against him, though he has acknowledged past ties to officials in Beijing’s security agencies.)
It was Guo’s yacht that Bannon was on when he was arrested by federal agents in August on charges of defrauding donors of a nonprofit group that claimed it was building a private wall on the Mexico border. At the time of his arrest, Bannon had told friends he’d been living on Guo’s boat for months. When he’s not on his boat, the Chinese mogul resides in an opulent $67 million penthouse in Manhattan, where he keeps a gigantic London Bridge statue made out of Legos and where he’s been known to give impromptu fashion shows of his alligator-skin jacket collection. That spectacular penthouse was put into bankruptcy protection this week.
Guo has framed himself as a stalwart critic of the CCP and China’s corrupt elite, but his efforts have divided China’s exile community. Guo has enthusiastically attacked other critics of Beijing as jealous poseurs, including most recently a Texas Christian pastor and Tiananmen protester named Bob Fu—who was imprisoned in China for his faith before escaping to the U.S.—whom Guo accuses of being a secret agent for the CCP. (Fu has lobbed this same charge back at Guo and his followers.)
As ever, Guo seems unruffled by his many critics. In his promotional video for G-Fashion, he exulted, “It is no exaggeration to say no one can stop us. GTV, G-Dollar, G-Coin, G-Fashion, G-Club and the New Federal State of China will become one of the most powerful force[s] in the world.”
—With additional reporting by Lachlan Markay