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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."

BRENNAN: China is a surveillance state. Is it appropriate for President Trump to be saying China should look into the Biden family?
CRUZ: 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.
BRENNAN: Even Ukraine? When you're talking about some of this, do you think that, say the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who's been talking about China, who's been talking about Ukraine, do you want to hear him testify about this sort of shadow foreign policy?
CRUZ: Listen, foreign countries should stay out of American elections. That's true for Russia, that's true for Ukraine, that's true for China, that's true for all of them. It should be the American people deciding elections. I don't know what Rudy's been saying. I do know though that we should decide our elections. It should be the American people making those decisions.

The big picture: Trump said on the South Lawn of the White House earlier this month that China should investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, over unsubstantiated corruption allegations, leaving Republicans scrambling over how to respond. While some have called the request inappropriate, others have suggested it was a joke — despite no indication from the White House that it was.

  • Trump made a similar request of the Ukrainian government, which led to Democrats launching a formal impeachment inquiry.

Cruz said he believes that Giuliani, who has helped lead the campaign to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, should accept Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) invitation to testify before the committee.

  • Asked whether the Justice Department should investigate the Bidens, Cruz said he believes they should if there's "credible evidence of a violation of law."
  • He also added that the Trump administration should release the transcripts of Joe Biden's conversations with Ukraine while he was vice president, much like the White House released a summary of Trump's call with Ukraine's president.
  • "Use the same standards and let the American people read the transcripts and decide," Cruz said.

Between the lines: Cruz and Trump have a complex relationship. While the 2016 GOP runner-up famously refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention for attacking his family, Cruz has overall been a consistent Trump ally and defender throughout Trump's presidency.

Go deeper: What matters most in the Trump-Ukraine scandal

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

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