Like a child sticking a fork in the electrical outlet, Donald Trump just doesn’t know what’s bad for him no matter how many times he’s told.
It’s difficult to imagine that by now the president would not have learned that IT IS ILLEGAL TO ACCEPT FOREIGN ASSISTANCE IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS.
And if Trump himself is too far off the deep end of mental acuity to absorb that fact, he presumably has a phalanx of White House lawyers and experienced government employees who could gently remind the petulant codger that, yes, he too is subject to the law despite the immunity from prosecution he has enjoyed as a sitting president.
One would think that after tweeting about the Mueller “witch hunt” every day for the past few years he may have gleaned the recipe for the potion that landed him in the eye of the investigative storm and done his best to avoid taking another dose.
Still, astonishingly enough, the news broke today of yet another foreign country that President Trump has tried to enlist in his never-ending quest to find compromising material on his political opponents to help him win his uphill battle towards re-election.
As he and his various eager assistants had previously done with Ukraine, Britain, Italy, and Australia, Trump now appears to have tried to swap concessions in his foreign policy towards America’s largest trading partner — China — in exchange for help in investigating his opponents.
The news that Trump raised the issue of Joe Biden’s political campaign — as well as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s since she has become a top contender to be the president’s next opponent — with China in a June 18th call with China’s President Xi Jinping comes on a day when Trump told reporters at the White House that he was considering asking China to investigate Biden and his son.
“It’s certainly something we can start thinking about,” Trump said when asked whether he would approach President Xi about investigating Biden. “Because I’m sure that President Xi does not like being under that kind of scrutiny.”
Yet, according to CNN, two people familiar with Trump’s June call with Xi say that the president has already raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart in the same conversation in which he promised Xi that he would stay mum on the protests in Hong Kong — and presumably any Chinese military reaction to them — while the two nations were still engaged in negotiating an end to the devastating trade war that has damaged the economies of both nations.
While the reports of the call did not mention any specific quid pro quo involved in the discussion, it’s extremely telling that the White House record of that call was eventually hidden in the highly secure server that stored the now-infamous phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that led a whistleblower to initiate the complaint that has kickstarted his impeachment investigations.
When Chinese diplomats were asked about President Trump’s comments today, their response was to deflect the question.
“I don’t think I can tell you anything in this regard right now,” said one Chinese diplomat. “This is quite chaotic,” they said. “We do not want to get in the middle of the US politics.”
Chaotic is certainly a charitable way of describing the situation.
According to CNN:
“One Trump ally outside the White House described receiving a message from Chinese government officials asking if Trump was serious when he suggested China open an investigation into Biden. The response: investigating corruption is an easy way to earn goodwill with Trump.”
Otherwise, we risk seeing our streets become as riotous as those in Hong Kong these days.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.