Waves off Ukraine scandal, impeachment threat, jabs Biden
John Fritze and David Jackson
Published 1:08 PM EDT Sep 23, 2019
NEW YORK – President Donald Trump arrived at the UN on Monday with tough words for former Vice President Joe Biden as he waved off questions about whether the widening scandal over Ukraine would force more Democrats to support impeachment.
“What Biden did was wrong,” Trump told reporters gathered here as world leaders prepare to meet over the next several days to discuss climate change, Iran and a weakening world economy. “What Biden did was a disgrace.”
Trump dismissed questions about reports that the scandal is putting additional pressure on Democrats to consider impeachment.
“Here we go again,” Trump said. “The one who’s got the problem is Biden.”
Trump also brushed aside questions about whether he pressured Ukraine to open an investigation into Joe Biden’s son during a phone call with that county’s president in July. The controversy is likely to cast a long shadow over the president’s schedule this week.
Minutes later, Trump blasted the whistleblower who initially brought attention to his phone call, questioning whether that person is “on our Country’s side.
“Where does he come from,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Is this all about Schiff & the Democrats again after years of being wrong?”
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Trump critics said he is trying to turn a story of improper influence into a story about Biden, and urged journalists and lawmakers not to fall for it.
“Trump was using his power to pressure Ukraine to help him out in a domestic election,” said Tim Miller, a Republican strategist who has been critical of Trump. “Biden was pressuring the Ukraine to end corruption in their country.”
He added: “Treating them as if they are in the same universe is a dangerous false equivalence that leads voters to throw up their hands and think a pox on both your houses, when the facts are clear that Biden was doing the right thing and Trump was acting maliciously.”
Trump spoke as Democrats stepped up calls for impeachment in the wake of Trump’s acknowledgement a day earlier that he had, in fact, spoken with the president of Ukraine about the investigation into Biden’s family. Democratic lawmakers said the incident will likely increase calls for impeachment of Trump, who is being probed for his actions regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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They are also protesting the administration’s continued refusal to release details of whisteblower’s complaint about the Ukraine call. Demanding such a release, Democrats cited reports that Trump made aid to Ukraine contingent on its willingness to investigate Biden.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has expressed skepticism about impeaching Trump, indicated she could change her mind if the administration continues to refuse to provide the complaint. “They will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” Pelosi said in a letter to House colleagues over the weekend.