Trump's top economic advisor 'doesn't know' if president was serious about China investigating Biden

Some Republicans claim Mr Trump was just joking

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 07 October 2019 20:59 BST
Ivanka Trump dodges questions about her father's impeachment

Donald Trump’s top economic advisor has said he does not know if the president was joking or being serious, when he called upon Ukraine and China to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

The president sparked controversy last week when, already in hot water over claims he asked Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on Mr Biden and his son to help his re-election efforts, he called upon Beijing to do the same.

China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Mr Trump told reporters, as he set off to Florida, the remarks coming after he discussed upcoming trade talks.

On Monday, Larry Kudlow. chief economic advisor, said the former vice president had not come up during discussions with China.

However, asked whether he thought Mr Trump had been serious about China investigating Mr Biden, he said: “ I don’t honestly know.”

Asked how the Chinese trade discussions could be “delinked” from Mr Trump’s public request for China to investigate, Mr Kudlow said: “I’ll let the president answer that...the president’s view is there is no linkage between that and the trade talks. I guarantee there will be no linkage.”

Asked if the president could definitely state that he does not want China to investigate Mr Biden and his son, Hunter, Mr Kudlow said: “You’re straying way off the reservation.”

Donald Trump says he wants both Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son

The comments come after two Republican members of Congress told the media over the weekend Mr Trump had been joking when he made the remarks. Democrats have launched an impeachment investigation after a whistleblower from the US intelligence community alleged Mr Trump had made the request for dirt from Ukraine’s leader in a July 25 phone call.

Congressman Jim Jordan, who represents a district in Ohio, told ABC News Mr Trump had been jesting.

“George, you really think he was serious about thinking that China is going to investigate the Biden family,” he told anchor, George Stephanopoulos. “I think he’s getting the press all spun up on it.”

His comments were echoed by Florida senator Marco Rubio.

“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,” he said at an event in the Florida Keys. “He’s pretty good at getting everybody fired up and he’s been doing that for a while and the media responded right on task.”

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