Rubio: Trump asking China to launch Biden investigation not 'a real request'

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOverwhelming majority of publicly traded firms have not returned small-business loans: review GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE (R-Fla.) suggested Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump anti-reg push likely to end up in court Biden set to make risky economic argument against Trump Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE was joking a day earlier when the president called for Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden set to make risky economic argument against Trump Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel What does Joe Biden believe about NASA, space exploration and commercial space? MORE (D).

Rubio claimed that Trump's remarks to journalists a day earlier at the White House were meant to rile up members of the media who would be "outraged" at the suggestion.

"Do you think it's OK for President Trump to ask China to launch an investigation of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?" a reporter asked Rubio.

"I don't know if that's a real request or him just needling the press knowing that you guys were gonna get outraged by it," Rubio responded. "He's pretty good at getting everybody fired up, and he's been doing it for a while now, and the media responded right on task."

Rubio also declined to say whether he would support an impeachment inquiry into the president, calling for more information to be released before members of Congress made their decisions.

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"I support .. .here's a good idea: Why don't we wait for all the information to come forward before people start making decisions or pronouncements, one way or another?" Rubio said. "Rather than just reflexively circling the wagons or rushing to judgement, how about waiting for everything to come forward, looking at it all, and then coming to judgement."

Rubio's stance is decidedly more moderated than other Senate Republicans, some of whom have declared that Trump did nothing wrong in a July conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where the president attempted to persuade Zelensky to investigate Biden over allegations that he used the vice presidency to shield his son from investigation in the country.

Rubio is a frequent critic of the president, and was a top contender for the Republican nomination for president before conceding his bid in 2016 after losing his home state of Florida to Trump.