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Posted by on Oct 3, 2019 in 2020 Presidential Election, China, Impeachment, Politics | 0 comments

Now THREE countries: Trump Publicly Calls On China to Investigate Biden

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Russia.

Ukraine.

And now….China.

And now there are three. President Donald Trump today publicly called on China to investigate Joe Biden in the same style he used during campaign 2016 to call on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. The context: he’s facing impeachment amid charges he tried to pressure Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on Biden and his son. This latest move has (so far) stunned GOPers, but the spin wil likely start soon. (What Fox’s Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Tucker Carlson will say is predictable.)
The New York Times:

President Trump on Thursday publicly called on China to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in an extraordinary presidential request to a foreign country for help that could benefit him in the 2020 election.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said Thursday as he left the White House to travel to Florida where he was expected to announce an executive order on Medicare.

The call for China to investigate Mr. Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings there came as the first witness appeared on Capitol Hill to be interviewed by House investigators as part of an impeachment inquiry into the president’s request in a phone call for help from President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Mr. Trump has defended his conversation with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect” even after a reconstructed transcript of the call was released that showed him seeking help from Ukraine in investigating the Bidens. And he doubled down on his request on Thursday.

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“I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said. “Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked.”

These requests, which critics argue are an abuse of presidential power, echo comments Mr. Trump made as a presidential candidate in 2016 for Russia to release missing emails of his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump made the comments about China ahead of the latest round of trade talks, which are set to take place next week.

“We’re going to have a meeting with them, we’ll see,” Mr. Trump said of the talks. “I have a lot of options on China. But if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait:

Donald Trump is being impeached for using his office to pressure foreign countries to investigate his political rivals. It is not clear Trump understands that, because he simply continues committing this offense in broad daylight.

In remarks to reporters today, Trump was asked what he wants Ukraine to do about the Bidens. He replied, “If they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens.” While elaborating on his answer, he added that he would also suggest China launch an investigation of the Biden family.

Of course, the idea that any American citizens should be subject to the Chinese justice system is absurd. The only possible way Trump could desire such an investigation would be if he believes China would fix the outcome in order to win his favor. For that matter, Joe Biden’s actions in Ukraine under the Obama administration had gained bipartisan support at the time, as CNN finds, so there is simply no legitimate basis for an investigation of him. Trump wants a cooked investigation with a predetermined outcome to help him politically.

In 2016, Trump asked Russia to hack his opponent’s emails on television. (“Russia, if you’re listening …”) His defenders dismissed it as a joke, even though Russia did not take it as a joke and made a hacking attempt that night. What Trump has taken away from all these episodes is that he is free to commit whatever crimes he wants.

The Washington Examiner:

As President Trump keeps talking, he makes it more and more difficult for his supporters to mount an actual defense of his underlying behavior.

Trump’s pushback against impeachment efforts seemed to be gaining some traction on Wednesday with the revelation that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff lied about having had contacts with the Ukraine whistleblower. In fact, the whistleblower reached out to his office before filing the complaint. This came on the heels of Schiff improvising a version of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a congressional hearing rather than just reading directly from the text of the call. In a highly politicized impeachment fight, being able to portray a leader of the opposition as being dishonest is a way of undermining public confidence in the integrity of the impeachment process.

But Trump cannot help himself from making statements that keep his own conduct front and center. On Thursday morning, Trump stood in front of the White House and not only said that Ukraine should investigate the Bidens but also China.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened in 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 because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked. That was a crooked deal 100%.”

Trump’s defenders want to focus on Schiff and the media and the deep state because it’s really difficult to argue that Trump’s underlying conduct has been a positive thing. He sees no problem with asking foreign countries to investigate a domestic political rival, even if, in the case of China, it’s an adversary.

His comments were not about assistance with an ongoing Department of Justice inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation or about the national interest in fighting corruption in Ukraine. Clearly and explicitly, he’s stating that he wants foreign governments to investigate a political rival.

Whether or not this rises to the level of removing him from office without a more explicit threat or quid quo pro is a different question from whether objectively, Trump’s behavior here is defensible.

Evaluating Trump here does not depend on trusting whistleblowers or deep state leaks or anonymously sourced media reports or dishonest Democrats. Everyone can see and hear what Trump said on video.


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