GOP defense: Trump was joking about China investigating Biden

With most Republicans in Congress remaining silent about President Donald Trump's extraordinary call last week for Ukraine and China to launch investigations into a political rival, some GOP lawmakers are waving off any concerns about Mr. Trump's actions by saying the President was just joking, and/or toying with the news media.

"I doubt if the China comment was serious," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) on the CBS program 'Face the Nation.'

"I don't know what the President was thinking. But I do know that he loves to bait the press and he does that almost every day," Blunt said on Sunday.

That echoed an assessment last week from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, when he told reporters in his home state that what President Trump said wasn't a real request - rather it was just President Trump talking.

"I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it," Rubio said.

"I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on ABC's 'This Week.'

"You really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family?" Jordan added.

To critics of the President, that answer is an emphatic yes.

"It’s not a joke," said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for President. "Release the transcripts and memos of Trump’s calls with China."

"Pretending it didn’t happen despite video evidence is how Republicans admit that what Trump did is indefensible," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).

Here is what President Trump said last week about having Ukraine and China investigate Biden and his son:

As for the President, while he stayed away from television cameras on Sunday, he got his message out on Twitter about the situation.

"The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple," Mr. Trump wrote in one of a series of a tweets, where - despite Republicans saying he was joking - the President was making it clear there was corruption which needed investigation.

"The fake news must stop making excuses for something that is totally inexcusable," the President added.

One of the more interesting moments in the Sunday talk shows came from NBC's 'Meet the Press,' where host Chuck Todd mixed it up with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

“Do you not trust the FBI?”  Todd asked the Wisconsin Republican.  “You don't trust the CIA?

“No, no, I don't,” said Johnson, who chairs a Senate committee dealing with homeland security.  “Absolutely not.”

Democrats said responses from lawmakers like Johnson showed the lengths that Republicans will go to in order to support the President.

"I feel like this is a moment where patriots need to step up and save this country,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

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