fter getting in trouble over a phone call with the Ukrainian president, Donald Trump has evidently decided to cut out the whistleblower and say, out loud and on camera, that foreign countries ought to investigate his political rivals.
“China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters outside the White House about his desire that Ukraine look into former US vice president and current presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 3, 2019
When pressed, Trump said that he had not actually brought up a Biden investigation with Xi Jinping but added that it is “certainly something we should start thinking about.”
This follows the opening of an impeachment investigation by the House which was sparked by a whistleblower complaint that Trump had pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of Hunter Biden.
Trump throwing China into the scandal was unprompted but came just after he spoke on his trade war with Beijing and said this: “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power.”
He then went on to allege that China had received a “sweetheart deal” with the US because of shady dealings with the Biden. “You know what they call that? They call that a payoff,” he said without providing evidence or elaborating further.
Last month, Trump parroted claims made by conservative author Peter Schweizer that Hunter Biden’s business had received $1.5 billion from the Chinese government shortly after he visited the country with his dad in 2013.
The Chinese government has called that allegation “totally groundless” while fact-checking organizations have found that the characterization has many flaws but is “not thoroughly unfounded.” Per CNN:
A company whose board Hunter sat on, received a large investment of Chinese capital shortly after Hunter visited the country with his father.
According to the New York Times, Biden’s son Hunter has a 10% interest in BHR Partners, a private-equity fund that the Chinese government-owned Bank of China has invested in. As of May 2019, both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that Hunter had not received any money from the fund or in connection with his role as an unpaid advisory board member.
In July 2019, more than two years after his father left office, Hunter purchased an equity stake in the BHR fund, valued around $430,000according to the Washington Post.
For more on Hunter Biden’s international business dealings, check out this New Yorker piece from this summer.