President Trump got into political hot water by suggesting that Ukraine investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. On Thursday, he not only doubled down, he made a similar request of China. "Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens," the president told reporters, per Politico. "Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine." Details on what the president is talking about in regard to China, including a fact-checker's analysis that labels Trump's claims about the issue "false":
- The trip: In 2013, Hunter Biden traveled to China with his father, who was then the vice president and on an official visit, reports NBC News. At the time, Hunter Biden was involved with forming a Chinese equity company, per NBC. During the trip, Hunter Biden met with a Chinese banker who was his partner in the fund, though a Biden spokesman characterizes the visit as "social." So does Hunter: “How do I go to Beijing, halfway around the world, and not see them for a cup of coffee?” he told the New Yorker in a profile.
- What Trump says: "When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund, and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China, and he’s there for one quick meeting and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing," Trump said last week. Trump has said similar things of late, including, "The son took money from China—a lot of money from China.” On Thursday, he said he hasn't formally asked China to investigate, but it's "certainly something we could start thinking about," per the AP.
- Fact-checker: A Washington Post Fact-Checker post has labeled Trump's claims "false." For one thing, the claim of a $1.5 billion fund seems to come from right-wing author Peter Schweizer, and the Post says the fund came nowhere near that. An attorney for Hunter Biden says the fund was capitalized for about $4.2 million. "There is no evidence to support" the assertion of a $1.5 billion fund, writes Glenn Kessler. Nor does it appear that Hunter Biden has made money from the venture.
- Measure of criticism: "One could argue Hunter Biden has been trading off his father’s name, and certainly arranging a handshake between a business partner and the vice president in China raises eyebrows," writes Kessler. "But Hunter Biden did not raise money for the fund; instead, he was on a board that advised potential investors. He did not obtain an equity stake until after his father was no longer vice president—and that investment of less than half a million dollars has not yet yielded a payoff for Hunter Biden, according to his attorney."
- Back to Ukraine: A new phase of the Democratic impeachment inquiry begins Thursday with the private testimony to Congress of former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, reports NPR. Volker, who resigned on Sept. 27, met with Ukraine officials the day after Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's president to help them "navigate" Trump's request about an investigation into the Bidens, per a whistleblower complaint. Volker will testify about his role in the controversy, including putting an adviser to the Ukraine president in contact with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
- GOP's request: House minority leader Kevin McCarthy wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi Thursday urging her to suspend the impeachment inquiry until she establishes more "transparent and equitable rules," reports NBC News.
Trump got in another dig at the Bidens via a Nickelback meme
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