WASHINGTON — President Trump said damn straight someone should investigate Joe Biden, in remarks likely to inflame the “whistleblower” scandal that’s already engulfing Washington and the 2020 campaign.
Trump said “it doesn’t matter” whether he directly asked Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden during a phone call on July 25, brushing aside questions about whether his administration sought to withhold millions in foreign military aid while pushing the country to launch politically helpful investigations.
In the next breath, Trump said Biden should be investigated over conduct that, at least in Trump’s description, dovetails perfectly with what Trump’s team has reportedly pressed Ukrainian officials to look into.
“Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden’s statement, because it was disgraceful, where he talked about billions of dollars he’s not giving to a certain country, unless a certain prosecutor is taken off the case,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. “Somebody ought to look into that.”
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has reportedly attempted to push Ukraine’s new administration to investigate questions of whether Biden, when he was Vice President, had any improper influence over an investigation into a Ukrainian natural gas company that employed Biden’s son, Hunter.
House Democrats are now investigating whether Trump attempted to slow-walk millions of dollars worth of foreign aid to Ukraine while pressing for investigations.
Trump held a phone call with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on July 25 — just one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress about his investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.
The White House and Department of Justice are now fighting to keep assertions made by an unnamed whistleblower secret. The official reportedly raised concerns about a “promise” Trump made to a foreign leader involving Ukraine, although the details of his assertion remain shrouded in mystery.
Prominent Democrats came forward to blast Trump’s White House for appearing to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden and his family.
Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, slammed Trump on Twitter for asking a “foreign power to help him win an election. Again.”
The political clash looks likely to only intensify next week. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is heading to New York City on Monday to join the United Nations General Assembly, where he plans to meet with Trump, according to his web site.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are threatening to sue for more details about the whistleblower’s complaint.
On Friday, Trump insisted that his “many” conversations with foreign leaders are “always appropriate.” He said he doesn’t know the identity of the whistleblower, but called the person “partisan.”
Trump’s comments following an off-the-rails interview that his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, gave on CNN Thursday night, in which he first denied, then confirmed, pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the White House in Washington, DC, September 20, 2019. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)