Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
This morning, CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked White House trade adviser Peter Navarro if the administration’s negotiations with China included President Trump’s request that China investigate the Biden family. This seems like the kind of charge that, if it were false, Navarro would have every incentive to deny.
He did not deny it:
Of course, this doesn’t prove anything. Perhaps Navarro suspects Trump is asking for a Biden investigation but isn’t sure if he did. But there is a fairly extensive record of public evidence that Trump has done exactly this.
1. On June 18, Trump raised Biden’s prospects in a phone call with Xi Jinping.
2. On October 3, Trump stood on the White House lawn and announced, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”
3. After some Republicans laughed off this latest high crime as some kind of weird joke, Trump affirmed that he is completely serious, tweeting, “As the President of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!”
4. Confused Chinese government officials asked Trump allies what to make of Trump’s request, and were told, according to CNN, “Investigating corruption is an easy way to earn goodwill with Trump.”
5. Asked the next day by an interviewer if he could assure the audience that Trump’s demands for a Biden probe would not be part of his negotiations with China, Trump’s economic adviser, Lawrence Kudlow, replied, “I can’t assure you of anything.”
6. On October 10, Trump adviser Michael Pillsbury emailed the Financial Times, “I got quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese.”
Trump’s apologists are attempting to find some hairsplitting way to deny or minimize the fact that he used diplomatic leverage to solicit Ukraine to investigate his domestic rivals. But he seems to be running the same play with China right now, and if he beats impeachment, will almost certainly continue with every country that might possibly have the means to smear any American Trump wants to smear.