Trump labels Biden 'very dishonest' as he defends call with Ukrainian president

Tuesday, 24 Sep, 2019

The news of the phone call has prompted a refreshed call from Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat, said such a move "may be the only remedy".

That's where Biden finds himself at the moment, answering questions about his son Hunter's work for a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading American diplomatic efforts to help the country's fledgling government.

Allies of Biden, the early front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, seized on the developments to portray him as the candidate Trump least wants to face next fall.

One thing is becoming clear: Trump is more than willing to cast aside norms to gain a political advantage.

U.S. media reported last week that an intelligence whistleblower had filed a complaint over Mr Trump's communications with a foreign leader and a "promise" that was allegedly made.

Biden was referring to the phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, that took place back in June, but has now become central to the impeach-Trump movement, after being tied to a fresh whistleblower complaint.

Responding to a reporter's question if he thinks someone was spying on his call with Ukraine, President Trump said, "this whistleblower-or whoever it was-because it sounds like it's not a whistleblower".

But he insisted he had done "absolutely nothing wrong". "If they won't say this is a bridge too far for us, then they really have no chance at the ballot box next year, not just President Trump but those members of the Senate".

A person familiar with the matter has told The Associated Press that Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden.

Oleksandr Danylyuk, a top official in the Ukrainian president's administration, told Reuters on September 23 that Kyiv's main objective was to have support and trusting relations with the United States.

He also accused news outlets of fabricating 'a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine. "These are the fundamental principles and basis of President Zelenskiy's program which we campaigned on".

Whether the "ostrich defence" can survive a meeting in NY with President Trump on Wednesday remains to be seen.

Trump declined to tell reporters whether he pressed Ukraine's leader to investigate Biden's son, but he said, "Someone ought to look into Joe Biden".

The president said over the weekend that his phone call with Zelenskiy was "congratulatory" and focused on corruption in the East European nation.

During an CNN interview Thursday, Giuliani was asked whether he had asked Ukraine to look into Biden.

Defenders of the president, such as Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have said that an investigation is necessary and that the American people deserve to know whether Joe Biden used his position as vice president to assist his son in Ukraine. Biden acted as a vocal opponent of Shokin and has publicly detailed his threat to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from the country if Shokin wasn't fired.

"What they're trying to say is I went there for a political mission to kind of get Joe Biden in trouble".

Biden urged journalists on Saturday that Trump's actions seemed "to be an unbelievable abuse of energy".

The younger Biden's business role raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates that Burisma was seeking to gain influence with the Obama administration. "Because there was nothing said wrong, it was pitch flawless!"

Joe Biden has said he has never spoken to his son about his business dealings.

Still, hinting at potential impeachment without even saying the word is far from where many Democrats want Pelosi to be.

The media reports about the phone call also said Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to investigate whether Biden misused his position as vice president under former President Barack Obama to threaten to withhold US aid unless a prosecutor who was looking into the gas company in which Biden's son was involved was sacked.