White House scrubs notice on DOJ Biden investigation

The White House removed a section of its daily public newsletter on Thursday that suggested President Donald Trump had instructed the Justice Department to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

The newsletter language, which was first reported by the Daily Beast, had said on Wednesday: “This year President Trump has asked Ukraine to fully cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into the actions of former Vice President Joe Biden and his family in Ukraine.”

According to the Daily Beast, the paragraph was altered by early Thursday to say the President “has asked Ukraine to fully cooperate with any Justice Department’s investigation into the actions of former Vice President Joe Biden and his family in Ukraine.”

And later Thursday, the paragraph was deleted from the October 2 newsletter page before the entire webpage was updated with the next day’s newsletter issue.

Neither the Justice Department nor the White House has announced the start of a formal US investigation into the Bidens.

The Justice Department declined to comment, referring CNN to a statement it issued last week that states the department had not yet done any outreach to Ukraine.

Additionally, last week’s statement said “the President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son,” nor has the President asked Attorney General William Barr to “contact Ukraine.”

Asked for comment, a White House official said, “The verbiage, written by a low level staffer, was incorrect, and we have fixed the error.”

Trump has said he believes that Biden’s son, Hunter, engaged in improper business dealings in Ukraine and other countries. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden in Ukraine.

The President brought the topic up during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is the basis of a whistleblower complaint filed by someone in the intelligence community. The complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The White House newsletter snafu came the same day the President laid out his most explicit call yet for Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rival’s family.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday morning, Trump was asked what he wanted Zelensky to do with regard to the Bidens.

“Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens,” Trump said.

“Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump added. “So I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.”

There’s no evidence that Joe Biden received any money from China. And a lawyer for Hunter Biden pushed back on this characterization, calling it “a gross misrepresentation.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Evan Perez and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.