Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday denounced President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this month to publicly urge China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary race.
Asked during an interview Sunday with CBS’ “Face The Nation” whether he believes it’s appropriate for Trump to ask China to open such a probe, Cruz stammered for a few moments before saying “of course not.”
“Elections in the U.S. should be decided by Americans and it’s not the business of foreign countries ― any foreign countries ― to be interfering in our elections,” he said.
Trump drew heated backlash from Democrats and some Republicans on Oct. 3 when he told reporters on the White House lawn that China “should start an investigation into the Bidens” while discussing trade talks with the country.
His comments echoed remarks he made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July phone call in which he urged the foreign leader to look into Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
The call became the subject of a subsequent whistleblower complaint filed by a U.S. intelligence official and later the centerpiece of the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Many of Trump’s Republican defenders have claimed the president was only joking when he encouraged China to investigate the Bidens. But one of Trump’s China advisers, Michael Pillsbury, told the Financial Times that he received “quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese” following Trump’s remarks.
CBS’ Margaret Brennan continued to press Cruz on Sunday, asking whether it had been appropriate for Trump to ask Ukraine to get involved.
“Do you think that, say, the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who’s been talking about China, who’s been talking about Ukraine, do you want to hear him testify about this sort of shadow foreign policy?” she asked.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said last week that he wants Giuliani, who has been urging foreign officials to investigate the Bidens at the behest of Trump, to testify before his committee.
“Listen, foreign countries should stay out of American elections,” Cruz, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Brennan. “That’s true for Russia, that’s true for Ukraine, that’s true for China ― that’s true for all of them. It should be the American people deciding elections.”
He added that it would “make a lot of sense” for Giuliani to testify.
Watch Cruz’s full interview with “Face The Nation” below. His comments about Trump’s request to the Chinese begin around the 4:30 mark.