- President Donald Trump on Thursday called for Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
- “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said. “So I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.”
- Trump said this on live TV while standing on the White House lawn.
- Trump urged Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in a July 25 phone call that’s at the heart of a whistleblower complaint that sparked an impeachment inquiry. And now he’s calling for China to investigate as well.
- There’s no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine or China.
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“China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said.
“So I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” he added, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump urged Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in a July 25 phone call that’s central to the impeachment inquiry threatening his presidency. And the president’s request for China to follow suit marked yet another instance in which he’s urged a foreign power to launch an inquiry into a political rival.
There’s no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine or China, despite the president’s allegations.
President Trump: "China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So, I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens." pic.twitter.com/Xia8vLUVT2
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 3, 2019
A reporter asked Trump on Thursday: “What exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?”
The president replied: “Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer: They should investigate the Bidens.”
Moments before, when Trump was asked about the trade war with China and the negotiations to end the stalemate, he said: “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power.”
Democrats accuse Trump of ‘abuse of power’
Trump’s statements on Thursday prompted a wave of criticism from congressional Democrats, many of whom are already engaged in the impeachment inquiry.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff tweeted: “The President cannot use the power of his office to pressure foreign leaders to investigate his political opponents. His rant this morning reinforces the urgency of our work. America is a Republic, if we can keep it.”
Similarly, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a tweet directed at Trump: “Soliciting a foreign power to investigate your political opponent is an abuse of power. That’s why Congress started a formal impeachment inquiry. The fact you are doing this in the open only makes it worse for you.”
And Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, retweeted a scathing statement she initially released in June after Trump suggested in an interview that he might not alert the FBI if a foreign power gave him dirt on a political opponent.
Weintraub’s statement said: “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a US election.”
Is this thing on? ???? https://t.co/K6phZRex8k
— Ellen L. Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) October 3, 2019
The July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky is a key aspect of an intelligence official’s whistleblower complaint accusing Trump of using the power of his office to solicit a foreign government’s interference in the 2020 election. Biden is among the top contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Amid the Ukraine scandal and the impeachment inquiry, Trump has repeatedly said that he’s done nothing wrong and that the Bidens are the real problem. He’s also accused Schiff of treason and suggested that “a Civil War like fracture” could occur if he’s impeached.