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WH disputes former Biden claim that Trump travel restrictions were ‘xenophobic’

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When asked by a reporter about President Joe Biden‘s past comments regarding then-President Donald Trump‘s travel restrictions on China toward the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she doesn’t think that’s “a fair articulation.”

“When President Trump was imposing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it ‘xenophobic’ and ‘fear-mongering.’ Now, President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries. “What word do we use to describe that?” asked Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy.

“I don’t think that’s quite a fair articulation,” Jen Psaki replied.

“The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic—he overturned the Muslim ban,” she continued, going on to say that Biden before he was inaugurated supported travel restrictions “in order to keep the American people safe” and to “ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control.”

“But he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions, and he conveyed at the time—and more recently—the importance of having a multifaceted approach: mask-wearing, vaccine distribution, funding in order to get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in the first 100 days,” Psaki added.

Trump’s travel restrictions on the whole nation of China came into effect on February 2, 2020. Travel between the U.S. and Macau and Hong Kong continued, however.

In his question, Doocy is referring to tweets from then-candidate Biden accusing Trump of “xenophobia” and “fear-mongering” around the time Trump’s travel restrictions on China were coming into effect and when the then-president was starting to more frequently use the terms “China Virus” and “Chinese Virus” when discussing the coronavirus.

“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering,” Biden tweeted on February 1, 2020. “He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

“Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be responsibility. Do your job,” Biden tweeted March 18, 2020 in response to a tweet from Trump saying: “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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DOJ federal indictment connects Sinaloa Cartel and Chinese ‘underground banking’

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The Justice Department (DOJ) announced a huge connection between Chinese organized crime and the Sinaloa drug cartel. In a press release the DOJ reported a 10-count superseding indictment charging Los Angeles-based associates of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel with conspiring with money-laundering groups linked to Chinese underground banking to launder drug trafficking proceeds. During the conspiracy, more than $50 million in drug proceeds flowed between the Sinaloa Cartel associates and Chinese underground money exchanges.”

The indictment was the result of a multi-year investigation into the conspiracy—dubbed “Operation Fortune Runner”— unsealed on Monday charging a total of 24 defendants with one count of conspiracy to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to the press release.

“Dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine are destroying people’s lives but drug traffickers only care about their profits,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “To protect our community, therefore, it is essential that we go after the sophisticated, international criminal syndicates that launder the drug money. As this indictment and our international actions show, we will be dogged in our pursuit of all those who facilitate destruction in our country and make sure they are held accountable for their actions.”

“Drug traffickers generate immense amounts of cash through their illicit operations. This case is a prime example of Chinese money launderers working hand in hand with drug traffickers to try to legitimize profits generated by drug activities,” said Chief Guy Ficco of IRS Criminal Investigation. “We have made it a priority to identify, disrupt, and dismantle any money launderers working with drug cartels and we are committed to our partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat drug cartels and those who assist them in laundering drug proceeds.”

The Justice.Gov website explains of the indictment: “Following close coordination with the Justice Department, Chinese and Mexican law enforcement informed United States authorities that those countries recently arrested fugitives named in the superseding indictment who fled the United States after they were initially charged last year.”

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