A revealing recording featuring Obama-era Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson soliciting his legal services to controversial Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui was recently unearthed, in which Johnson states, “I am the only member of Barack Obama’s cabinet that has met with Donald Trump. I wrote him a personal letter yesterday.”
At the close of the Obama administration, Johnson returned to his job at New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. On the tapes, he can be heard referring to an upcoming meeting with FBI investigators in his pitch to gain the well-heeled businessman as a client for his firm.
“You are somebody I want to help. You and your family and your lovely wife, I want to help you,” Johnson is heard saying before bragging about his ties to the federal government, according to a report published in Breitbart News on Wednesday.
The tape appears to be heavily edited, making some of the conversation confusing, but Johnson is heard bragging that he can get Guo “a pair of cufflinks from the secret service” and insisting several times that Guo keep mum about their meeting.
“This is the point at which – nothing – you never met this man. You never talked to him,” an unidentified female voice can be heard telling Guo of Johnson.
However, in the tape, Johnson advises Guo to meet with the FBI, with him present, before he speaks to any representative of the Chinese government.
A spokesman for Paul, Weiss confirmed the identities of the voices in the recording and noted that neither Johnson nor the firm had taken Guo on as a client, according to Breitbart’s report, which stated:
A meeting between Mr. Kwok [an alias of Mr. Guo] and Secretary Johnson several months ago about a possible representation appears to have been recorded and released on YouTube. Secretary Johnson and the firm did not take on the representation. We have no information about the circumstances in which the recording was made.
“I don’t think you need to worry about Donald Trump,” the unidentified female voice jokes before mentioning that Guo is a member of the Trump Organization-owned Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, FL. “I made that happen,” she brags.
Guo, a Chinese business tycoon in self-imposed exile in New York City, has emerged as a frequent critic of the current Communist Party leadership in the People’s Republic of China. He goes under the adopted name of Miles Kwok and accuses several officials loyal to current General Secretary Xi Jinping of rampant corruption. According to a May feature in the New York Times, “Mr. Guo’s allegations are unproved, and some of his claims have been outlandish and easily debunked.”
Guo reportedly got along well with the regime of Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao.
Waging a social media campaign against the leaders of his country from his reputed $78 million New York City apartment, Guo has a history of doing whatever he can to advance his agenda. For instance, in 2008, he was reported to be behind the release of an hour-long sex tape between a Beijing vice-mayor who opposed one of Guo’s developments and a mistress. The tape ended the official’s career.
In China, three of Guo’s employees are facing prison terms after they were ordered by Guo to falsify financial documents to obtain loans from a state bank. Guo’s development firm Beijing Pangu Investment Co. was also fined $36 million.
The case did not name Guo as a defendant, but Chinese authorities have been ramping up pressure against the fugitive tycoon, who has vowed to expose sensitive information concerning top party officials unless the government frees his employees and family members held in China.
In America, Guo is facing lawsuits brought by mainland Chinese plaintiffs in New York State courts to the tune of roughly US$5.3 billion. In a video that emerged in April, a jailed ex-Chinese spy can be seen making a lengthy “confession” that further implicates Guo. And it’s also rumored that Guo, who has a looming INTERPOL warrant for his arrest, is facing prosecution if he returns to China. For this reason, he may be seeking asylum in the United States, which would explain why he may have tried to enlist the help of an attorney like Johnson.
The exact means by which the Johnson recording was made and brought to light are not clear, but according to Breitbart News, a source familiar with Guo’s activities in China said that Guo tape-records many — if not all — of his business dealings. The source suggested that the tape recording may have emerged as part of Guo’s legal issues in his native country.