WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump suggested that he raised former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son in a summer phone call with Ukraine’s new leader, as Democrats pressed for investigations into whether Trump improperly used his office to try to dig up damaging information about a political rival.
Trump told reporters that the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was “congratulatory” and focussed on corruption in the East European nation. In his remarks to reporters, he then raised Biden as an example, although there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
“It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Texas.
Biden, who is among the front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination, accused Trump of making a baseless political smear.
The matter has sparked a fierce debate over whether Trump misused his office for political gain and whether his administration is withholding from Congress critical information about his actions. The incident is part of a whistleblower complaint, but the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share details with lawmakers, citing presidential privilege.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has resisted calls for impeachment for other alleged Trump transgressions, said on Sunday that unless Maguire provides information to Congress, administration officials “will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.”
Another impeachment holdout, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Adam Schiff, D-Calif, said on Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that “we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.”
A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden.