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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