Donald Trump just confessed to asking foreign countries to help him take out a political rival. Again.
Donald Trump told reporters Thursday morning that he not only wants Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, but he now wants China to open an investigation into him as well.
"What, exactly, did you hope [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky would do with the Bidens after the phone call? Exactly?" Trump was asked as he was leaving for a trip to Florida to talk about health care.
"Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens," Trump said.
"And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine," he said.
Trump then reiterated his recommendation to Zelensky.
"So I would say that President Zeleneky — if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens, because nobody has any doubt that they weren't crooked."
And if his intentions were not yet clear, Trump said a third time that Zelensky should investigate Biden.
"So if I were the president, I would certainly recommend that [an investigation of Biden] of Ukraine," Trump said.
Trump's clarity is a marked difference from Wednesday, when he refused to answer repeated questions about what, exactly, he wanted Ukraine to do with regard to Biden. He was asked about it several times during a joint press conference with the president of Finland because a whistleblower complaint, corroborated by White House documents, alleges Trump asked the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Biden.
It is illegal to solicit election interference from a foreign national, and Trump's phone call with Zelensky is now at the center of a House impeachment inquiry.
There is no evidence Biden acted illegally or unethically.
Trump seems unfazed by the allegations that he is illegally soliciting election interference from foreign countries, as he is now suggesting China investigate Biden, who is a top contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Trump's comments Thursday morning are reminiscent of comments he made in the midst of the 2016 campaign, when he openly asked Russia, on TV, to help him find dirt on Hillary Clinton.
"Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," he said at the time. According to special counsel Robert Mueller, Russia began hacking attempts mere hours later.
Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help install Trump in the White House, according to the Mueller report. Trump now seems to be asking not one but two countries to interfere in the 2020 election to help him as well.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.