WASHINGTON (AFP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump openly called on China as well as Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 election rival Joe Biden, taunting Democrats seeking his impeachment for inviting foreign election interference.
Speaking in Florida on Thursday, Trump blasted his accusers as “maniacs” pursuing impeachment as he sought to turn the tables on a probe that threatens to make him only the third US president ever impeached in the House of Representatives, and face a trial in the Senate.
As a former State Department diplomat testified behind closed doors in Congress on his role in the Ukraine scandal, Trump doubled down by calling for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to go after Biden, who leads the race for the Democratic presidential nomination next year.
“I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
Asked if he would request Xi do the same, Trump replied, “It’s certainly something we can start thinking about.”
Adam Schiff, the Democrat leading the impeachment probe in the House of Representatives, said Trump was acting “with impunity” in the face of the law.
“Once again we have a president of the US suggesting, urging a foreign country to interfere in our presidential elections,” Schiff said.
Trump alleges that Biden, as vice president in 2014, tried to block a Ukraine corruption probe into his son Hunter’s business partner, a Ukraine gas tycoon, using US aid as leverage.
He also alleged Hunter used his stature to raise USD1.5 billion in 2013 from China for a new investment vehicle in Beijing.