Trump discussed Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren with China in phone call hidden on secure server: report
President Donald Trump discussed the "political prospects" of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Vice President Joe Biden in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 18, according to a CNN report published Thursday night.
The report did not say that Trump pressured Xi to investigate Biden, pressure that Trump did apply to the Ukrainian president in a July 25 phone call. That conversation triggered a reinvigorated push for impeachment in the House of Representatives. However, Trump did suggest publicly on Thursday that China should investigate Biden.
CNN found that a record of Trump's conversation with Xi was "later stored in the highly secured electronic system used to house a now-infamous phone call with Ukraine's President and which helped spark a whistleblower complaint that's led Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry into Trump." Some experts and commentators have argued that using the system to conceal politically sensitive — but not codeword classified — materials would be an improper abuse of power.
According to the report, Chinese officials were stunned by Trump's remarks on Thursday:
"Are you asking about the comments that Trump just made? I don't think I can tell you anything in this regard right now," said one Chinese diplomat when questioned on Thursday about Trump's remarks.
"This is quite chaotic," the diplomat said. "We do not want to get in the middle of the US politics."
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.
In addition, there was another stunning claim in the report of the June 18 call: "Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed." This suggests that Trump communicated he had little interest in human rights or democracy, but only in his narrow transactional politics.