Ted Cruz joined a growing list of Republican senators who have spoken out against Donald Trump for inciting China to look into Joe Biden and his family.
‘Is it appropriate for President Trump to be saying China should look into the Biden family?’ CBS’ Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked Cruz Sunday.
‘Look, of course not,’ the Republican senator from Texas responded. ‘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.’
Earlier this month, the president urged China to look into political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country.
‘Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens,’ Trump told reporters, ‘because what happened with the Bidens in China is just about as bad.’
Breaking ranks: Ted Cruz answered ‘of course not’ when asked if its was appropriate for Donald Trump to ask China to investigate the Bidens, a breach in the Republican wall of backing for the president
Business dealings: Hunter Biden did business in both Ukraine and China; his father Joe Biden is the Democratic frontrunner and says he never did anything wrong
He made the request off the back of talking about potential corruption involving Hunter Biden with his previous board position at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.
‘President Zelensky – if it were me I would recommend they start an investigation into the Bidens because nobody has any doubt that they aren’t crooked,’ he added, speaking of the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
It still isn’t clear if him prompting China to probe the Bidens was a joke or not.
When pressed during a White House departure last week to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on if his comments were in jest, the president said he was leaving it up to China to decide.
‘China has to do whatever they want. If they want to look into something, they can look into it. If they don’t want to look into it, they don’t have to,’ Trump said.
‘Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, if China wants to look into something, I think that’s great. And if they don’t want to, I think that’s great too. That’s up to China,’ he continued.
Cruz, a failed Republican primary candidate in 2016, also said he wants Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he serves on.
‘I think it’d make a lot of sense for Rudy to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee,’ Cruz told CBS this weekend. ‘That’s ultimately a question for the committee chairman, Lindsey Graham. But I’d like to see Rudy testify. Yes.’
Giuliani is at the center of the Ukraine controversy as questions involving his role in U.S.-Ukraine relations came to light with revelations of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky this summer.
The former Republican New York City mayor is also reportedly responsible for the premature removal of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from her three-year position.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced at the end of September the lower chamber of Congress was opening a formal impeachment inquiry into the president. While witnesses are being called to the Hill to testify, prosecutors are also probing potential lobbying violations from Giuliani.
A transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky released last month reveals the president pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to look into Hunter Biden and his board position – which he accepted in 2014 when his father was still vice president.
Hunter stepped down from his post at Burisma earlier this year.
Over the weekend, Hunter announced he would be stepping down from his position on the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company at the end of this month.
The president claims the 49-year-old attorney and lobbyist made $1.5 billion in China after flying there in December 2013 with his father aboard Air Force Two.
Question him: Ted Cruz said he would like to see Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, testify. He was rocked this week by the arrest of his associate Lev Parnas, who employed Giuliani as an advisor to his firm Fraud Guarantee then helped connected the former New York mayor to high-profile figures in Ukraine
Other man: Igor Fruman, Giuliani’s other arrested associate, has met Donald Trump multiple times
Hunter has denied playing a role in forming the Chinese company or having equity in it while his father was in office and insists the board position was unpaid.
Reports indicate Burisma paid Hunter $50,000 per month, but Trump has claimed the firm paid him more than $100,000 each month he was employed there.
Hunter said in his statement through his lawyer over the weekend that if his father were to become president, he would not engage in any foreign business dealings.
Biden is the current frontrunner candidate, but he has been slipping in the polls recently. Progressive candidate Elizabeth Warren has even surpassed him for the No. 1 spot in some early caucus and primary state polls.
Other Republican lawmakers said Trump’s insistence that foreign governments assist in probing his political rival was inappropriate.
Mitt Romney, the GOP’s failed 2012 nominee for president, publicly condemned Trump earlier this month.
‘When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China ‘s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated,’ Romney wrote in a statement on his Twitter.
‘By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,’ he added.
Romney’s criticism, among the first public condemnation of the president’s actions by a Senate Republican, came as some congressional Republicans have rallied around Trump, with many more remaining silent during a congressional recess.
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, condemned Trump’s remarks, as well.
‘Hold up: Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth,’ he wrote in a statement to the Omaha World-Herald. ‘If the Biden kid broke laws by selling his name to Beijing, that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps.’
Republican Senator Susan Collins became the third GOP lawmaker to come out against Trump’s comments.
‘I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent,’ the Maine Senator said while addressing reporters Saturday. ‘It’s completely inappropriate.’