WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Thursday he wanted China to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son -- even as he faces an impeachment inquiry for pushing Ukraine to do the same.
Asked by a reporter at the White House if he had requested that Chinese President Xi Jinping "investigate at all," Trump replied, "I haven't, but it's certainly something we can start thinking about."
"China should start an investigation into the Bidens," Trump said. "Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine."
House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry last week amid reports Trump had held up aid to Ukraine while pushing the country's leader to investigate former Vice President Biden, who is now running for the Democratic nomination for president, and his son Hunter.
The president and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have asserted without evidence that Hunter Biden benefited financially in Ukraine and China with the help of his father and that Biden had sought to remove the country's top prosecutor because he was looking into the oil company where Hunter Biden served on the board -- though the prosecutor was already facing criticism from multiple sectors for failing to more aggressively crack down on corruption.
The vice president has denied the accusation.
"We weren't pressing Ukraine to get rid of a tough prosecutor," Biden said Wednesday in Reno, Nevada. "We were pursuing Ukraine to replace a weak prosecutor who wouldn't do his job."
Asked Thursday what specifically he had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to do with regard to the Bidens, Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday, "I would think if they were honest about it they would start an investigation into the Bidens."
"It's a very simple answer," he said. "They should investigate the Bidens."
During a press conference the day before, he repeatedly refused to answer the same question, berating a reporter for asking it.
Trump made the comments Thursday before departing for Florida, where he plans to sign an executive order on Medicare and speak to supporters at a retirement community.
Across Washington, on Capitol Hill, his former special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, was giving a deposition to several House committees. Volker resigned Friday after the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry pointed to him as a U.S. official who was swept up into Giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens.