President Trump cranked up his attacks on Joe Biden Friday as he sought to fight political fire with political fire amid Democrats’ impeachment investigation, accusing the former vice president of “pillaging” foreign countries while insisting his controversial push for foreign governments to look into Biden dealings is about corruption and not politics.
“I don’t care about Biden’s campaign, but I do care about corruption,” Trump said. “I don’t care about politics, I don’t care about anything. I care about corruption.”
He added: “We’re investigating corruption. We’re not investigating campaigns.”
The president’s comments came on a day of whirlwind developments in the House impeachment inquiry, with intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson testifying behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Democrats preparing subpoenas for the White House, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo facing a deadline to comply with a separate subpoena—all over Trump’s controversial July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine in which he sought a Biden-related probe.
His comments Friday drew skepticism from critics in Congress, including Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
“When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated,” Romney tweeted.
But Trump has aggressively pushed back, citing new details surrounding Hunter Biden’s work at the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings. Trump, from the White House lawn Friday, went on to mention how much money he has heard Hunter Biden made while working for the firm.
“I’m hearing the number of $50,000 a month—it’s a much higher number that Biden’s son was getting per month—for him, as a totally unqualified person to be getting hundreds of thousands a month is very, very sad,” Trump said.
It is unclear how much money Hunter Biden made while serving on the board of the firm, but reports have estimated he made up to $50,000 per month — which would be up to $600,000 a year. Fox News has also obtained notes from an interview Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani conducted with Yuriy Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian prosecutor who eventually closed the Burisma probe. He said he “believes Hunter Biden receives millions of dollars in compensation from Burisma,” according to the notes.
Hunter Biden’s work is at the center of the current controversy, as Trump is under fire from Democrats for pressing Ukraine to look into it, as well as Joe Biden’s effort to get a prosecutor who had been investigating Burisma removed from his post. Biden allies maintain this was due to corruption concerns. Trump allies maintain the real controversy surrounds Biden — not the president.
Trump on Friday was also asked whether the Justice Department was investigating the Bidens and their business dealings in Ukraine—but kicked the question back to the DOJ.
“Well, that you’d have to ask Attorney General Barr,” Trump said. “As an observer—what I saw Biden do with his son, he is pillaging these countries and hurting us.”
The DOJ did not comment.
Trump also doubled down on his criticism of the Bidens’ involvement in China, claiming that if the former vice president were elected in 2020, he would “roll out the red carpet” for Beijing in trade negotiations.
This comes after Trump took heat for calling on China a day earlier to investigate the Bidens, claiming the country gave Hunter Biden $1.5 billion in order to gain influence with his father, who was vice president at the time.
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