Top Senate Republican: 'I doubt the China comment was serious'

Top Senate Republican: 'I doubt the China comment was serious'
© Greg Nash

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign MORE (R-Mo.) on Sunday expressed skepticism President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE was “serious” when he called for the Chinese government to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate  Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE and the former vice president's son, Hunter.

“I doubt the China comment was serious …the president loves to go out on the White House driveway, he loves to bait the press to see what you’ll talk about,” Blunt said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

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Blunt’s comment echoed those of Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 AP Fact Check rates GOP claim Pelosi blocked National Guard on Jan. 6 'false' Officers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder MORE (R-Ohio), one of Trump’s most vocal backers in the House, who refused to comment on the appropriateness of Trump’s remarks on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Certainly we shouldn’t expect the Chinese, the Russians or any of our other national security adversaries to be helpful in any way, and if they do come forward with information I think you’d have to seriously question whether there was any veracity to that information or not,” Blunt added on CBS.

Asked whether Trump potentially making military aid to Ukraine conditional on an investigation of the Bidens would be impeachable conduct, Blunt responded: “I don’t think it’s unusual for foreign leaders when they talk to each other say to say ‘here’s something I would like you to do for me’ whether it’s a trade agreement or some other agreement.”

“I don’t think that’s unusual, I think the question here is, is [an impeachment inquiry] going to be a partisan effort on the part of the House,” Blunt continued. “I think you have to assume that if it’s essentially a partisan vote in the house then that sets the stage for the likely same kind of vote in the senate, but let’s see what the facts are.”

House Democrats launched an official impeachment inquiry amid reports Trump encouraged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Bidens. 

Trump last week also said China should look into them.

--This report was updated at 11:41 a.m.