- Joe Biden said the phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president shows a “blatant abuse of power,” and an impeachable offence.
- The official White House memo of the call showed Trump suggesting that Ukraine investigate Biden, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2020 election, and his son Hunter.
- “It seems to me it’s awful hard to avoid the conclusion that it is an impeachable offence and a violation of constitutional responsibility,” Biden said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday.
- Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump, who denies any wrongdoing. A whistleblower complaint about the call is due to be made public Thursday.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden slammed US President Donald Trump for a “blatant abuse of power” after documents showed that Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate him and his son.
Biden also expressed tentative support for impeachment proceedings against Trump, describing his exchange with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky as an “impeachable offence.”
Speaking on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night, Biden said that, based on the a memo of the June 25 call between the two leaders, “it seems to me it’s awful hard to avoid the conclusion that it is an impeachable offence and a violation of constitutional responsibility.”
Biden also reacted specifically to Trump’s suggestion during the call that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, work with Attorney General William Barr to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.
He call it “such a blatant abuse of power that I don’t think it can stand.”
Biden is running for president in 2020, and is widely considered the Democrat most likely to win his party’s nomination, though he faces significant competition.
In an earlier statement on Wednesday, he condemned Trump for the contents of the call, but notably stopped short of mentioning impeachment.
He said that Trump “pressured Ukraine to manufacture a smear against a domestic political opponent.””
“It’s an abuse of power that violates the oath of office and undermines our democracy. Congress must hold him accountable.”
To Kimmel, he said that his focus was beating Trump in the election: “My job is to go out and flat beat him.”
“I can’t let this distract me in a way that takes me away from the issues that really–the reason why I’m running.”
You can see Biden on Kimmel here:
House Democrats this week opened an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Leading Democrats say their belief that Trump should be investigated has been hardened by seeing the call memo, and the whistleblower complaint from an unnamed intelligence official that set off the scandal.
So far only members of Congress have seen the complaint, but it is due to be made public on Thursday.
Trump claimed that he did so because of corruption in Ukraine and because he wanted European countries to contribute more.
Trump did not explicitly mention aid in the call memo, but said that “we do a lot for Ukraine” before asking for a “favour.” The call is not a verbatim transcript, and instead based on staff notes.
Trump had suggested that Zelensky work with Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as well as Barr.
Giuliani said to Fox News on Tuesday that he has been dealing with some Ukrainian officials on Trump’s behalf, claiming that he did so at the request of the State Department.
Biden also said that Trump is “trying to divide this country” and said that it was “so devastating for so many people.”
“If he doesn’t get us into war in the next year – and I’m not being a wise guy, I’m not being glib saying that – but eight years of Donald Trump will fundamentally alter the character of this nation in my view.”
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