President Donald Trump denied he would seek to tie a potential investigation into the Biden family to any busines deal with China, however he again pressed Beijing to investigate unfounded contends against his political rival.
Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Friday, Trump reiterated that he belief he has the authority as chairperson to ask a foreign government to open investigations into anyone he suspects of being corrupt.
“That has nothing to do with it, ” he said when asked whether he would associate a busines deal with a Biden investigation. “I want to do a commerce deal with China, but only if it is good for our country.”
His commentaries come a day after he openly called for President Xi jinping to look into possible dishonesty by the Bidens, continuing to spread claims that no testify is fully supportive. Trump first appeared to link the two expectations speaking to reporters Thursday. The chairman said then that he and the U.S. would have the upper hand on China when high-stakes trade talks resume in Washington next week, saying he has “a lot of options on China” and “if they don’t do what we want, we have immense power.”
Moments later, unprompted, he issued his invitation for China to examine whether there was wrongdoing by the Bidens.
Trump’s accusations come as his government remains mired in the impeachment inquiry launched by the House last week stemming from a July phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart in which he also advised a corruption investigation into Biden. Democrats point to Trump’s mysterious decision around the same time to withhold hundreds of billions of dollars in protection assistance to Ukraine, with Trump offering evolving rationales for doing so.
Trump’s relationship with China has been warm and cold throughout his presidency. Despite regularly bashing the country and engaging in a yearslong trade war that has begun to adversely affect the U.S. economy, Trump has also spoken warmly about Xi and praised him the coming week on the 70 th anniversary of communist rule there.
The president’s trade war with China has weighed on U.S. farmers and manufacturers, and stimulation hundreds of billions of dollars in tit-for-tat tariffs between the two nations. While Trump often says he could easily wrestle China into making a deal to benefit the U.S, he’s also intimated Xi could be trying to wait him out in the hopes he is overcame in next year’s election.
On Thursday, CNN reported that Trump mentioned Biden, one of the front-runners in the Democratic race for president, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s risen steadily in the polls, in a phone call with Xi earlier this year. Trump had said earlier in the day he had not yet requested Xi to investigate the Bidens but indicated a request could come soon.
Democratic investigates are looking to determine whether, in the case provided for of Ukraine, Trump stirred U.S. aid contingent upon a promise to investigate the Bidens for unsubstantiated allegations of corruption there. Democrats’ assumptions appeared to be reinforced by damaging text contents between State Department officials that lawmakers liberated late Thursday.
But CNN’s report stressed questions of whether Trump could, or had, similarly hung a trade deal with China. According to the report, Trump also told Xi during the June conversation that he would refrain from openly discussing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong — which could have been damaging for Xi — while trade talks continued. Trump has remained largely quiet on the unrest.
Trump and his allies have claimed that Hunter Biden coaxed China’s national bank to invest $1.5 billion in an investment firm he sat on the board of, declarations solicitors for the former vice president’s son have denied. George Mesires, Hunter Biden’s solicitor, has told multiple media outlets that Hunter Biden did not have a fiscal stake in the firm until after his father left public office.
Biden commentators have mainly pointed to a trip to China in 2013 that Joe Biden took while he was vice president. Hunter and one of his daughters accompanied his father on the journey, where he organized a gather between the vice president and a Chinese banker involved with the firm, though Hunter Biden’s solicitor denied any business was conducted on the trip. Shortly after, the firm received its license to operate, but Mesires has said that was in the works long before the China trip.
The president and his allies have also suggested that Biden applied his father’s influence to get ahead in business — Trump accused Biden on Thursday of devoting China a “sweetheart deal” because of his son’s business interests there. He likewise accused Hunter Biden, without prove, of receiving a “payoff” from the Chinese.
Mesires told The Washington Post last week that Hunter Biden have not been able to received “any return or compensation” from his investment or role with the firm, and that Trump and his champions had engaged in a “gross misrepresentation” of Hunter’s role there.
On Friday, Trump appeared to adopt a new pipeline of protection as he “ve spoken to” reporters, repeatedly telling them that his primary motivator was rooting out dishonesty, rather than damaging the electoral prospects of any singular political adversary. Asked by one reporter, nonetheless, if he could name any corruption investigations he was pursuing that did not involve a political opponent, the president responded that he “would have to look.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
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