US President Donald Trump has called on China to look into former vice president Joe Biden's business dealings and those of his son as House panels questioned former US special envoy to Ukraine in the unfolding impeachment inquiry against Trump.

US President Donald Trump speaks during an event at The Villages retirement community in The Villages, Florida, US, on October 3, 2019.
US President Donald Trump speaks during an event at The Villages retirement community in The Villages, Florida, US, on October 3, 2019. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump is calling on China to probe his Democratic rival and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump is already ensnarled in an impeachment investigation over his request of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Thursday as he departed for an event in Florida, Trump said, "China should start an investigation into the Bidens."

Trump said he hadn't directly asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate Biden and his son Hunter but said it's "certainly something we could start thinking about."

There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.

Trump and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have also tried to raise suspicions about Hunter Biden's business dealings in China, leaning on the writings of conservative author Peter Schweizer. But there is no evidence that the former vice president benefited financially from his son's business relationships.

Trump's requests for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on Biden, as well as Giuliani's conduct, are at the center of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint that sparked the House Democratic impeachment probe last week.

Trump's comments came as he publicly acknowledged that his message to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other officials was to investigate the 2020 Democratic presidential contender. 

Trump's accusations of impropriety are unsupported by evidence.

"It's a very simple answer," Trump said of his call with Zelenskiy. "They should investigate the Bidens."

Trump has sought to implicate Biden and his son in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine.

Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kyiv.

Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice president or his son.

FILE PHOTO - Kurt Volker, United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine on October 28, 2017.
FILE PHOTO - Kurt Volker, United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine on October 28, 2017. (Reuters Archive)

Lawmakers grill former Ukraine envoy behind doors

US Lawmakers heard testimony Thursday from the former special US envoy to Ukraine who has become a central figure in the unfolding impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Kurt Volker, a once obscure diplomat, became the first witness in the impeachment investigation as he testified behind closed doors.

Investigators planned to ask about any role he may have played in Trump's efforts to press Ukrainian officials for damaging information about the Biden's son.

Republican lawmakers who took part in the first session with Volker said he was "impressive," but downplayed what they heard.

"Not one thing he has said comports with any of the Democrats' impeachment narrative, not one thing," said Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Source: AP