Oct 6, 2019

Jim Jordan suggests Trump was joking about China investigating Bidens

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on ABC's “This Week” on Sunday that he doesn't think President Trump was serious when he said last week that China should launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, suggesting that it was an attempt to get the press "all spun up."

The exchange:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "Threshold question. Do you think it is appropriate for President Trump to ask China and Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?"
JORDAN: "George, you really think he was serious about thinking that China's going to investigate the Biden family?"
STEPHANOPOULOS: "He said it right there in public."
JORDAN: "I think Senator Rubio said it a couple of days ago. I think he's getting the press all spun up about this. Remember, this is the president who's been tougher on China than any other president. ... He was just making a statement to just underscore how wrong it is what took place here with Hunter Biden getting these deals that he got."

The big picture: Trump's comments on the South Lawn of the White House appeared to mark yet another instance of the president publicly calling for a foreign power to investigate one of his top political rivals. Republicans have yet to present a unified defense of the remarks, which — unlike the Ukraine call that has sparked an impeachment inquiry — happened in public.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took a similar approach to Jordan when asked about the comments last week, telling reporters: "I don't know if that's a real request or him just needling the press knowing that you guys are going to get outraged by it."
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also said on CBS' "Face the Nation": "I doubt if the China comment was serious, to tell you the truth. ... I don't know what the president was thinking, but I know he loves to bait the press, and he does that almost every day." 

Go deeper: Second Ukraine whistleblower has "firsthand knowledge" of Trump allegations

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Zero members of Trump administration appear on Sunday talk shows

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration was noticeably absent on Sunday's cable news lineup, with not a single member making an appearance on CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS or NBC.

Why it matters: President Trump is in the midst of an impeachment storm over allegations that he pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The Sunday shows are widely viewed as a space for political actors to speak directly to the public and relay their perspectives on pressing political issues.

Go deeperArrowOct 6, 2019

Lindsey Graham: Trump was "stupid" to ask China to investigate Joe Biden

In an interview with Jonathan Swan for "Axios on HBO," Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized President Trump for calling on the Chinese to investigate Joe Biden — but the South Carolina Republican declined to call it an impeachable action.

"As to asking China to look into Biden, that was stupid. Nobody believes that China would be fair to Biden, Trump, me or you, or anybody. Bad idea. That didn't last very long. I think that's a frustrated Trump who feels like there's two different games, that people in [the media] are never gonna really sit down and talk to Hunter Biden unless it's a softball interview."
Go deeperArrowOct 20, 2019

Cruz: "Of course" it's inappropriate for Trump to ask China to investigate Bidens

Asked whether it's appropriate for President Trump to suggest China investigate the Biden family, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CBS' Margaret Brennan: "Of course not. Elections in the U.S. should be decided by Americans, and it's not the business of foreign countries, any foreign countries, to be interfering in our elections."

Go deeperArrowOct 13, 2019