Then-candidate Donald Trump caused a stir in 2016, when he called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release emails missing from former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's server.
In 2019, then-President Trump's infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy—in which he pressured Zelenskyy to dig up dirt on the Bidens while the White House withheld congressionally-approved, vital aid to Ukraine—led to his first impeachment.
Now, after losing the 2020 election, the former President is once again attempting to intercede in delicate foreign policy matters to serve his own interests. This time, he called on Russia to dig up dirt on the supposed corrupt dealings between President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and oligarchs in eastern Europe—all while Putin continues his invasion of Ukraine.
Trump delivered the remarks in an interview with far-right disinformation outlet Real America's Voice.
Extended clip is worth watching: "As long as Putin is not exactly a fan of our country... I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it... you won't get the answer from Ukraine... I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer." pic.twitter.com/JFGcBk4Kxd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 30, 2022
Trump told host John Solomon:
"As long as Putin is not exactly a fan of our country, let him explain ... why did the mayor of Moscow's wife give the Bidens, both of them, $3.5 million? That's a lot of money. She gave them $3.5 million. So now I think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer."
"Now, you won't get the answer from Ukraine, but why are they giving somebody who knows nothing about energy $187 thousand a month plus a $3 million upfront payment. And I won't even talk about China because they haven't gone into Taiwan yet. But why did the mayor of Moscow's wife give the Biden family $3.5 million? Nobody wants to ask the question."
After a mini-rant about CNN+ host Chris Wallace, whom he deemed a "total lightweight," Trump once again called on Putin to release the alleged dirt.
"But why is it that the mayor of Moscow's wife gave the Biden family $3.5 million? I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer. I'm sure he knows."
Trump's claims stem from a report released by Senate Republicans released in 2020, which claimed that Elena Baturina, the widow of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, sent a $3.5 million payment to the firm Rosemont Seneca Thornton for consultant work. At the time, Hunter Biden was the cofounder and CEO of another firm called Rosemont Seneca Advisors. There's no evidence that the payment was corrupt, or that the payment went to Hunter Biden. The link between the two firms is unclear.
With Trump's latest ask of Putin, social media users were enraged but not surprised at the comments.
Tell me this traitor’s security clearance has been revoked. He openly conspires with the enemy, when the U.S. is attempting to steer clear of a war with Russia. https://t.co/PDiEeqd7nX
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) March 30, 2022
To put this in context... Trump is casually asking an authoritarian leader of a foreign nation engaged in a war of aggression against democratic self-determination to destabilize our country with disinformation because he lost an election a year and a half ago. https://t.co/dxHa0s50y2
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) March 30, 2022
I know we’ve all lost our capacity for shock, but the president of the United States in the middle of a war asking a NATO adversary to help him politically is really something https://t.co/cAL4aZwTka
— David Freedlander (@freedlander) March 30, 2022
This is what happens when there’s impunity. https://t.co/DBsGXcCCdx
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) March 30, 2022
I’m old enough to remember when the party of this man who is publicly committing treason grilled a Black woman about being “soft on crime” https://t.co/By9TUz6kyj
— Michael Harriot (@michaelharriot) March 30, 2022
They reminded their followers it wasn't the first time Trump had made this demand.
The former US president suggests Putin get back at the US for supporting Ukraine by undermining the current US president - and not the first time he’s asked Russia to interfere in his behalf. https://t.co/SJhvhKYjzt
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 30, 2022
Don’t be surprised if Trump later lies and says he was joking about asking Putin for dirt on Biden. He’s lied that he was joking when he asked Russia for Hillary Clinton’s emails. https://t.co/OCBn6kBfFa https://t.co/oRjFmFGbPZ
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 30, 2022
This is the second time trump has asked Putin to get dirt on a political rival. https://t.co/8FrmE9c1zy
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) March 30, 2022