Oct 3, 2019

Trump's trifecta

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

For the 3rd time in 4 years, President Trump has asked another country to interfere in U.S. elections.

The big picture: In July 2016, Trump said Russia should "find" and release Hillary Clinton's emails. In July 2019, he told Ukraine to investigate the Biden family. And today, even as he finds himself embroiled in an impeachment inquiry over this very issue, Trump said that China, too, should investigate the Bidens.

Why it matters: It's not normal for presidents to solicit foreign interference in our elections. It's also against the law, as Federal Elections Commission chair Ellen Weintraub tweeted today.

Between the lines: Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been promoting allegations that Hunter Biden made "millions" in China by leveraging his father's name.

  • In December 2013, Hunter Biden and one of his daughters accompanied Joe Biden to China on a diplomatic trip. During the trip, Hunter helped organize a handshake between his father and business partner Jonathan Li, who was the CEO of a Chinese investment firm.
  • 12 days later, Hunter Biden joined the board of a private-equity fund created by Li and another of Biden's business partners called BHR.
  • A lawyer for Biden told the Washington Post: "To date, Mr. Biden has not received any return or compensation on account of this investment or his position on the board of directors."

The bottom line: Trump is already facing an impeachment inquiry for the Ukraine call. Now he's saying it out loud with China — effectively challenging Congress.

Fact check: What Joe and Hunter Biden actually did in Ukraine

Go deeper

Trump says China should investigate Bidens

President Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday that China should launch an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, though he noted that hasn't yet asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to do so.

Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019

Hunter Biden to step down from board of Chinese company

Hunter Biden. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

Hunter Biden, son of the former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, will be leaving the board of BHR Equity Investment — a private equity fund backed by Chinese state-owned entities — at the end of the month, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The younger Biden is leaving the board amid unsubstantiated allegations by President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani that he made millions of dollars from BHR Equity Investment while his father was in office. Trump has suggested that China should investigate Hunter, setting off claims by Democrats that the president is soliciting foreign election interference.

Go deeperArrowOct 13, 2019

Diplomat told House committees that he flagged Hunter Biden's Ukraine work in 2015

Hunter Biden. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

A top U.S. diplomat told the House committees investigating President Trump's dealings with Ukraine Tuesday that he raised concerns about Hunter Biden's board position at a Ukrainian gas company in 2015, but was brushed off by an aide to former Vice President Joe Biden, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: George Kent's testimony is "the first known example of a career diplomat who raised concerns internally in the Obama administration" about Hunter Biden's work, writes the Post.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019