White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Friday declined to say whether he’s ever raised investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenTop US diplomat suggested he could ‘quit’ over Ukraine dealings House Democrats release Trump officials’ text exchanges discussing Ukraine Sasse breaks with Trump’s call for probe: ‘Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth’ MORE during talks with Chinese officials.
During a combative exchange with CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Navarro slammed the network’s reporting that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTop US diplomat suggested he could ‘quit’ over Ukraine dealings READ: Trump officials’ texts discussing Ukraine House Democrats release Trump officials’ text exchanges discussing Ukraine MORE spoke about Biden’s political prospects during a June call with Chinese President Xi Jinping without denying its accuracy.
Asked multiple times if he had ever personally broached the idea of investigating Biden during his conversations with China, Navarro refused to answer directly.
“I will never talk about what happens inside the White House. Not confirm or deny, because that’s the slippery slope,” Navarro said during the exchange.
Asked again later in the interview whether he’d spoken about Biden, Navarro pivoted to criticize the anonymous sources in CNN’s reporting.
“Have you ever given me a source that’s other than anonymous for any of this crap?” Navarro said. “That’s what I want to know.”
Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro refuses to answer when CNN’s Jim Sciutto asks if he’s ever raised Biden with the Chinese.
“I will never talk about what happens inside the White House. Okay? Not confirm or deny. Because that’s the slippery slope.” pic.twitter.com/XQRu2pAjAb
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 4, 2019
Trump, who is already facing an impeachment inquiry for urging the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, told reporters on Thursday that he believed China should investigate the Bidens.
CNN reported later in the day that Trump spoke about the political prospects of Biden and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren calls for transcript of Trump’s call with Chinese leader to be released Trump mentioned Biden, Warren in June call with Chinese president: report Biden raises .2 million in third quarter, trailing Sanders and Buttigieg MORE (D-Mass.), both polling at the top of the 2020 Democratic field, during the call with Xi, and that Trump said he would remain silent on Hong Kong protests amid trade talks.
The Trump administration has been locked in a lengthy trade war with China with negotiations stalling in recent months.
The president’s comments, paired with CNN’s reporting, have led to calls from some Democrats to release a transcript of Trump’s call with Xi.
“How is it that a U.S. president going forward is ever going to be able to have a candid conversation with a foreign leader about any sensitive matter if the jackals are always wanting to get things revealed,” Navarro said Friday. “You guys want every transcript revealed of everything.”
He added that the president had a right to put the transcripts of his calls with world leaders on a secure server intended for national security matters, citing the prevalence of leaks coming from the White House.
Navarro’s response is likely to deepen Democrats’ calls for documents from the White House as part of their impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office for personal gain.
Texts released by three House committees late Thursday showed that State Department officials told a Ukrainian adviser that a White House meeting would be contingent on the country investigating matters related to the Bidens and the 2016 election.