It was supposed to be a celebration for a movement that opposes the Chinese Communist Party.
Instead, the swanky private party, held in June at the top of One World Trade Center, served as a platform for several of former President Donald Trump’s allies, including former advisor Steve Bannon and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, to spew anti-government rhetoric and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
The invitation-only event was hosted by a couple shadowy nonprofits, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society. They are linked to Guo Wengui, a wealthy exiled businessman from China who is an ardent opponent of that nation’s ruling Communist Party.
CNBC obtained a copy of the invitation, which lists Guo, Bannon and the two new chairs of the nonprofit organizations as speakers for the event. You can view the invitation here.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and former Trump national security advisor Mike Flynn, both known for pushing the false theory that claims the election was stolen from Trump, also spoke at the June 3 gathering.
“It’s like on the battlefield because this is warfare,” Flynn said at the event, which included lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. “This is warfare that we are in.”
It was streamed on YouTube, which has 30,000 views so far. Neither the YouTube video nor the invitation to the event have been reported on.
A person familiar with the event said there could have been up to 200 people in attendance at the Aspire, a catering hall located on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center.
A sales manager at Aspire would not confirm details of the Guo-supported event, although the manager said a 12-hour, 200-guest event with lunch and dinner stations could cost nearly $185,000.
The Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation describe themselves as a resource for whistleblowers who want to safely speak out against the Chinese government. Guo fled China in 2014 in anticipation of corruption charges. After he blasted China’s leadership, warrants were reportedly issued for his arrest on charges that included corruption and bribery.
Press representatives for the Guo-linked foundations, Bannon, Flynn and Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.
A misinformation offensive
The conspiracy theories and speakers heard at the event fit a pattern for the Guo-backed organizations. The nonprofits are cited in a report by Graphika, which describes a “network [that] acts as a prolific producer and amplifier of mis- and disinformation, including claims of voter fraud in the U.S., false information about Covid-19, and QAnon narratives.”
Bannon left his role as chair of the Rule of Law Society last summer. Bannon’s departure from the board came around the time he was arrested on Guo’s yacht for allegedly defrauding donors through his “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign. Bannon pleaded not guilty at the time and was later pardoned by Trump.
The invitation to the June event lists Dinggang Wang, a Guo ally and anti-Chinese government YouTube star, as the new chair of the Rule of Law Society. Wang, according to a report by NBC News, appears to have previously helped spread Covid misinformation and conspiracy theories about President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden during the election.
The invitation lists among its topics the “Chinese Communist Party Virus” and “CCP’s existential threat to the US and the world.” But there is no clear indication that people would discuss the 2020 election. Biden defeated Trump, who has continued to lie about how it was stolen from him.
The event was described as a commemoration of a Guo-linked movement known as the New Federal State of China.
“It is with great pleasure and joy that we invite you to join us in New York City for the first anniversary of The New Federal State of China (NFSC),” the invitation read.
At the event, Bannon and Lindell argued that China interfered in the election.