Trump Suggests China Should Also Investigate Former Vice President Joe Biden

Oct 3, 2019
Originally published on October 3, 2019 4:58 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The impeachment inquiry started because of allegations that President Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to find dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. Well, impeachment inquiry or not, today President Trump went further. Standing on the White House lawn, he called on China to investigate Biden. NPR's Ayesha Rascoe has more.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: As he was leaving the White House for a trip, President Trump insisted yet again that there's nothing wrong with asking foreign governments to look into a political rival. While none of the claims of criminal wrongdoing against the Bidens in Ukraine have been borne out, Trump said Hunter Biden's dealings in China are also fair game.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: China just started investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.

RASCOE: Trump says he has not asked China's president, Xi Jinping, to do so, but he suggested that he might.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I haven't but certainly it's something we can start thinking about

RASCOE: Without offering any evidence, Trump has argued that Biden and his son were engaged in corrupt activity during the previous administration. Democrats are moving ahead with an impeachment inquiry sparked by a whistleblower complaint that accused Trump of abusing his office by asking Ukraine to investigate a potential 2020 opponent.

House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff is helping to lead the effort. He said Trump's comments on Thursday represented a, quote, "fundamental breach of the president's oath of office." In Arizona, Vice President Mike Pence defended the president. He said that Trump's requests have been appropriate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: I think the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position.

RASCOE: Trump has repeatedly lashed out about the impeachment probe. He claims Democrats have launched the inquiry to weaken him for 2020. But Trump speculated Thursday, without offering evidence, that the pharmaceutical industry might be behind the impeachment push.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I wouldn't be surprised if the hoax didn't come a little bit from some of the people that we're taking on.

RASCOE: Trump was speaking at a Medicare event with seniors in Florida, but it was clear that impeachment was still on his mind.

Ayesha Rascoe, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.