OCTOBER 3, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Trump called for Ukraine and China to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, doubling down on his efforts to push foreign countries to undertake probes that could benefit his re-election campaign.
The president’s comments come as his efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden in a July phone call have already set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, who are looking at whether the president abused the power of his office for political gain.
Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday, Mr. Trump called for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to lead the charge for a Biden investigation. “I would say, President Zelensky, if it was me, I would start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said.
The president said that China should start an investigation of the Bidens, alleging that “what happened to China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.” Asked if he had sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help, Mr. Trump said: “I haven’t, but it’s certainly something we can start thinking about.”
Mr. Trump and his allies have called for investigations into Mr. Biden over his anti-corruption efforts as vice president in Ukraine while Mr. Biden’s son Hunter sat on the board of a private Ukrainian gas company. The former prosecutor general of Ukraine said earlier this year that he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son.
Hunter Biden in 2013 joined an investment advisory firm that partnered with Chinese entities, shortly after traveling with his father to China while he was vice president.
The president’s involvement of China in the matter is likely to escalate Democratic lawmakers’ concerns. Mr. Trump has drawn scrutiny for his decision to put a hold on nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine about a week before the phone call with Mr. Zelensky where he requested the Biden investigation. His comment that China should to do the same comes as Washington and Beijing are engaged in a trade war that is weighing on the global economy.
The countries, which have imposed new tariffs and retaliatory tariffs on each others’ exports, have made little progress on a trade deal since hitting an impasse in early May. High-level negotiations are expected to resume in Washington late next week. Mr. Trump has portrayed China as eager to reach a trade pact to revive the country’s growth.
“I have a lot of options on China,” Mr. Trump said Thursday regarding trade. “If they do not do what we want, we have tremendous power.”
President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3, before boarding Marine One for a trip to Florida. He told reporters, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
Mr. Biden, in a speech in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday offered his most forceful defense to date of his actions in Ukraine and accused Mr. Trump of abusing his power as president to smear him and his family.
The Democratic presidential candidate said in a campaign speech that he wanted to make clear to the president “and his hatchet men and the special interests funding his attacks against me — I’m not going anywhere. You’re not going to destroy me. And you’re not going to destroy my family.”
Mr. Biden said as vice president he carried out the official policy of the U.S. government to root out corruption in Ukraine in tandem with European allies, the International Monetary Fund and “courageous reformers” in Ukraine.
“It was a fully transparent policy carried out in front of the whole world and fully, fully embraced by the international community of democracies,” Mr. Biden said. “We weren’t pressing Ukraine to get rid of a tough prosecutor, we were pursuing Ukraine to replace a weak prosecutor who wouldn’t do his job.”
Courtesy/Source: The Wall Street Journal