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3 Oct, 2019 15:27

Trump says China and Ukraine should investigate the Bidens' activities in the countries

Trump says China and Ukraine should investigate the Bidens' activities in the countries

President Donald Trump has called on the governments of both China and Ukraine to investigate the business and political activities of Hunter and Joe Biden, as his opponents start an impeachment inquiry over his call to Kiev.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Thursday, Trump reiterated his demand that Ukraine’s government investigate the Bidens, a similar suggestion he made to newly-minted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a now-infamous phone call in July.

“If they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said. “They should investigate the Bidens. Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

“Nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked,” the president continued. “That was a crooked deal, 100 percent.”

Democrats allege that Trump pressured Zelensky to reopen an investigation into Hunter Biden’s business activities in Ukraine in a July phone call, in a bid to gather dirt on Joe Biden, former vice president and Democratic candidate in next year’s election. Trump contends that the phone call was a “nothing call,” and a transcript of it showed no evidence of wrongdoing.

Trump also argues that Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma in 2015 - a position that paid a $50,000 per month salary despite Hunter’s lack of qualifications in the field - was corrupt. He also alleges that Joe Biden, then vice-president, pressed Kiev to quash an anti-corruption probe into Burisma a year later, and used American foreign aid as leverage to do so.

Trump’s call for a Chinese investigation centers around a 2013 trip the two Bidens made to Beijing in 2013. At the time, Hunter was in the process of forming a Chinese private equity fund, and hoped to raise money there. Within two weeks of the trip, authorities in Shanghai granted the fund its business license, and it had raised more than a billion dollars. Trump therefore maintains that Hunter used his father’s official visit to further his own business interests.

Quizzed by reporters on whether he had asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate the trip, Trump said on Thursday “I haven’t, but it’s clearly something we should start thinking about.” Trade talks between Washington and Beijing are due to resume on Friday, with a Chinese delegation en route to discuss the two countries’ ongoing spat over trade deficits and alleged intellectual property theft.

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In the runup to his talk with reporters, Trump spent much of Thursday morning bashing Biden and Adam Schiff - the Democrat Congressman chairing the investigation into the Zelensky call - on Twitter. Hours earlier, Twitter pulled down a video clip shared by Trump, showing the two Bidens and a Burisma executive golfing together in 2014, seemingly contradicting Joe Biden’s insistence that he never spoke to Hunter about his “overseas business dealings."

A spokeswoman for Biden responded on Thursday, accusing Trump of "desperately clutching for conspiracy theories," and "flailing and melting down on national television."

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