September 22, 2019

Tapper Corners Mnuchin: Wouldn’t You Find it Inappropriate if Obama Asked Ukraine to Investigate Trump’s Kids?
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin found himself in a rhetorical trap of his own making on Sunday when CNN’s Jake Tapper cornered the treasury chief as he defended President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.During his appearance on State of the Union, Mnuchin immediately deflected when pressed by Tapper as to whether or not it was common for presidents to push foreign leaders to investigate their political rivals, pivoting instead to Biden’s claim he hasn’t spoken to his son about his business dealings.“I haven’t heard that and I think you’re speculating on what the president said,” the Trump official said. “I would say these are confidential discussions between two foreign leaders but I think the bigger issue is Biden came out this weekend saying he never had any discussions with his son. His son came out and said he had had business discussions with his father so I think that the real issue is not what the president said, but what, indeed, did Biden’s son do.”Trump Whistleblower Saga Threatens to Blow Up 2020 CampaignMnuchin went on to repeatedly dismiss the reports on the president’s pressure campaign to get Ukraine to look into his political opponent as “speculation,” while at the same time saying it was a “terrible precedent” for Congress to be able to look at the whistleblower complaint because “conversations between world leaders are meant to be confidential.”Tapper, meanwhile, continued to grill Mnuchin on the matter despite the Trump Cabinet member’s attempts to evade, eventually confronting Mnuchin with a hypothetical situation.“Let me just close by asking, if for instance, President Obama had pressured a foreign leader, Putin or the president of Ukraine, anyone said 'I want you to look into Donald Trump Jr., or I want you to look into Eric Trump,' international businessmen, both of them, would you not find that inappropriate?” Tapper asked.“I’m not going to speculate on that,” Mnuchin replied. “What I do find inappropriate is the fact that Vice President Biden—at the time’s—son did very significant business dealings in Ukraine. I, for one, find that to be concerning and to me that is the issue perhaps that should be further investigated.”The CNN anchor, however, said he didn’t understand Mnuchin’s answer because it appeared he was saying it is “okay for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to do business all over the world and okay for Ivanka Trump to have copyrights approved all over the world while President Trump is president and while Joe Biden is vice president his son shouldn’t be able to do business dealings.”As Mnuchin insisted he didn’t want to “go into more of these details,” Tapper fired back: “Well, you’re setting a precedent that the president is violating.”“Again, I think there is a significant difference in what you’re saying, okay,” Mnuchin contended. “What I was saying between Biden and his son’s relationship with the Ukraine oligarch and potential business dealings that the Trump Organization has had which predated his presidency.”The CNN host, for his part, made sure to end the conversation on this issue by pointing out that “the Ukrainian prosecutor said there is no evidence of any wrongdoing” by either Joe Biden or his son.
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