Though President Donald Trump insists that he never stepped a foot out of bounds during his calls with foreign leaders, he openly encouraged the Chinese and the Ukrainians to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden during a chat with reporters.
On the South Lawn, Trump was asked about Ukraine and said, “I would think that if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens,” moments later, he added, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”
REPORTER: What exactly did you hope the Ukrainian president would do about the Bidens?
TRUMP: "I would think that if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation … they should investigate the Bidens … China likewise should start an investigation." pic.twitter.com/gLVBjmSs3q
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2019
But the Chinese say that they’re not going to investigate Trump’s political rivals. A foreign ministry spokesperson told the South China Morning Post that “China has long pursued the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” adding, “We have no intention of intervening in the domestic affairs of the United States. Our position is consistent and clear.”
His request of the Chinese is, of course, not the first time that Trump asked a foreign power to dig up dirt on his political opponent. During a now public phone call with the Ukrainian leader, Trump urged him to investigate the Bidens. That phone call is now a large part of the base for the impeachment investigation that is underway in the House of Representatives.
Trump’s allies have tried all sorts of excuses for the president asking the Chinese to look into the Bidens. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told reporters that he didn’t think Trump was being serious, saying “I don’t know if that’s a real request or him just needling the press knowing that you guys were gonna get outraged by it.”
But Trump has successfully nodded foreign nations into interfering in American elections before — during the 2016 season, he urged the Russians to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. A few hours after he made that request, the Russians made their first attempt at hacking Clinton’s servers.