WASHINGTON (CN) – Doubling down on the conduct that brewed an impeachment probe, President Donald Trump said Thursday that China and Ukraine should investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.
Trump raised the suggestion this morning while speaking to reporters at the White House.
“I haven’t, but it’s certainly something that we could start thinking about,” Trump said when asked if he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate Biden.
Trump also said if he were Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he would open an investigation into the Bidens over work the former vice president’s son did for a Ukrainian gas company.
Back in July, Trump made the same suggestion explicitly in a phone call with Zelensky, triggering a whistleblower complaint over Trump’s apparent solicitation of a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 election where the former vice president is a likely contender for the Democratic nomination.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry related to these allegations last week, and the House Intelligence Committee is holding a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill this morning where lawmakers will depose former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker.
Trump has attacked the whistleblower as politically biased and the probe as unfounded. On Thursday he repeated his insistence that he did nothing inappropriate in the call with Zelensky.
“If you look at the whistleblower’s complaint, it’s totally inaccurate, because the conversation I had was absolutely perfect and most people that have read it say the same thing,” Trump said.
The White House has refused to share a transcript of the conversation, and Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized a memo summarizing the call as a transcript.
After the press conference, Democrats said Trump’s latest comments are just as worthy of scrutiny as those that launched the impeachment probe.
“Trump is now openly calling for foreign interference in our elections in a calculated effort to normalize his corruption,” Representative Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said on Twitter. “This alone is impeachable. House Democrats will continue to investigate this president’s abuse of power.”
Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, called Trump’s comments Thursday “a grotesque choice of lies over truth and self over the country.”
“It could not be more transparent: Donald Trump is terrified that Joe Biden will beat him like a drum,” Bedingfield said in a statement.