Donald Trump really, truly does believe he’s above the law. Even after his almost-certainly criminal call with the Ukrainian president led to the opening of an official impeachment inquiry he refuses to change his behavior. His approach appears to be escalating his abuses of power in the hopes that refusing to back down might convince Americans he didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. It’s not going to work.
Today, Trump spoke to reporters and admitted that he had hoped after his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the foreign leader would push for a “major investigation into the Bidens.” He went on to say that they should investigate the Bidens, making it clear that he still, even now, wants Ukraine to proceed with the smear to help his reelection chances.
Trump then ignited an entirely new scandal for himself by stating that China should also start investigating the Bidens. He repeated the unsubstantiated corruption conspiracy theories he’s been hurling for weeks about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the Asian country. As usual, he failed to offer up any kind of evidence or real details for the allegation. His strategy continues to be: throw out fabricated claims, vaguely allude to vast sums of crooked money, and then move on, muddying the water in the process and convincing his gullible followers that he really is on to something.
After lobbing that firebomb–which is to say suggesting that America’s key geopolitical rival, authoritarian China, investigate a possible 2020 rival of his—Trump circled back to Ukraine and again urged Zelensky to look into the Bidens.
It cannot be stressed enough how inexcusable his behavior is. This China request is fully as bad as—if not worse than—the infamous Ukraine call. China has an obvious incentive to do as Trump asks, as they could see doing this favor as a way to influence him into removing the tariffs and ending the trade war he has been waging against them on and off since he assumed office. China is a deeply corrupt, neocolonialist nation run by Presiden Xi Jinping, a dictator who has declared himself leader for life. He has absolutely no qualms about undermining our democracy so if he decides that attacking the Bidens is in his country’s best interests he will not hesitate.
Trump has material leverage here the same way he created leverage for himself with Zelensky by abruptly cutting off roughly $390 million to the Eastern European country not long before the phone call. He’s little more than a two-bit mobster.
Trump admits he asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden, and asks China to do the same. Like Nixon telling America "I ordered the break in." pic.twitter.com/Zw3aZby4uc
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) October 3, 2019
When a reporter asked Trump if he has asked President Xi to look into the Bidens, he claimed that he hasn’t yet but that it’s “certainly something that we can start thinking about.”
The corruption is happening right out in the open now. This man must be impeached and removed from office immediately. Nothing less than the existence of our Republic is at stake.
Wow. Here's Trump making a veiled threat that China should start investigating the Bidens because "I'm sure President XI does not like being under that kind of scrutiny … they call that a payoff." pic.twitter.com/WhJN4gn1yW
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2019
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.