Published: Fri, October 04, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Pence Defends Trump’s Calls for Ukraine, China to Investigate Biden

Pence Defends Trump’s Calls for Ukraine, China to Investigate Biden

Standing on the South Lawn outside the White House on Thursday, Mr Trump made the request again publicly, and also said China should investigate Mr Biden over his son Hunter's business dealings in both countries.

Trump's unprompted reference to China came moments after he was asked about trade negotiations with the country.

"You know what they call that", Trump said.

Commenting on Trump's remarks, the former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe said on CNN that to ask a "foreign nation - especially one that doesn't have the greatest reputation of rule of law and democratic protections to people under investigation - pushing that country to investigate a United States citizen is a remarkable departure from everything we have seen to this point".

"They should investigate the Bidens".

"I have a lot of options on China, but if they don't do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power", Mr Trump said.

A spokeswoman for Joe Biden, a leading candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, later replied Mr Trump was "desperately clutching for conspiracy theories that have been debunked and dismissed by independent, credible news organisations". There's been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

"The Chinese might be tempted to help Trump out and get a better trade deal, but I doubt they will interfere so directly in U.S. politics", agreed Ms Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

Volker was among the officials mentioned by name in the whistleblower report raising concerns about Trump's July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son.

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But Biden's campaign chairman said Trump's assertions merely show he's scared of facing Biden in next year's election. "They call that a payoff".

The president's comments could be interpreted as an attempt to draw a link between trade talks and domestic politics, one person briefed on the trade talks said.

During the interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Pelosi also pushed back on a Republican argument that Trump's call with Zelensky was not problematic because there was no explicit "quid pro quo" between providing USA military aid to Ukraine and investigating the Bidens.

"The American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration", he said. "Regardless of whether it falls explicitly under campaign finance or bribery provisions, this kind of behavior nearly certainly is violative of the president's oath of office and will be cited as yet another exhibit in likely articles of impeachment for abuse of power".

He has stressed that Biden himself publicly bragged about threatening to withhold U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine unless the country fired its head prosecutor, who happened to be investigating the gas firm that hired Biden's son, Hunter. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kyiv.

President Donald Trump told media China should start an investigation into the Bidens.

Mr. Volker told the committee he had warned Mr. Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, not to believe information he was receiving in Ukraine that suggested Mr. Biden had helped shut down an investigation into Burisma, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed sources.

Ahead of the 2016 election, Trump publicly called on Russian Federation to release Hillary Clinton's emails if they had obtained them by hacking _ which U.S. intelligence agencies later determined to be the case. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press". He later claimed in written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller that he made the appeal to Russian Federation "in jest and sarcastically, as was apparent to any objective observer".

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