Trump returns to first impeachment roots by saying Ukraine aid should be linked to Biden probes

‘Congress should refuse to authorize a single additional shipment of our depleted weapons stockpiles,’ ex-president says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Sunday 30 July 2023 15:13 BST
Related video: Donald Trump walks on stage to song lyrics about going to prison

Donald Trump returned to the roots of his first impeachment when he suggested that aid to Ukraine should be conditioned on congressional investigations of President Joe Biden.

The former president called for Republicans in Congress to hold back on more support for Ukraine until the White House cooperates with their probes into the business dealings of Mr Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The Saturday night tirade at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania echoed the conduct that led to Mr Trump’s first of his two impeachments when he used military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into then-candidate Biden in 2019.

“Congress should refuse to authorize a single additional shipment of our depleted weapons stockpiles … to Ukraine until the FBI, DOJ and IRS hand over every scrap of evidence they have on the Biden Crime Family’s corrupt business dealings,” Mr Trump said on Saturday.

He argued that all Republicans who don’t join the efforts should be challenged in their primaries – Mr Trump endorsed challengers in the 2022 midterms of the Republicans who voted for his impeachment after the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

Republicans are probing Hunter Biden’s business interests in China and Ukraine during the Obama administration when Mr Biden served as vice president. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. The White House has argued that the GOP hasn’t presented any proof of wrongdoing by the president.

Republicans in Congress have shared their frustration regarding the administration’s response to their requests for records. The Oversight Committee has got hold of thousands of pages of financial documents and they’ve also looked at Treasury Department bank activity reports and an internal report by the FBI, according to The Washington Post.

Far-right conservatives in the party have been putting pressure on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to turn the investigations into an impeachment inquiry. The speaker indicated last week that he was open to doing so.

A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Ammar Moussa, told The Post: “Just like when he was impeached, Trump is using aid to Ukraine to play politics, which only serves to benefit one person: Vladimir Putin. MAGA Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kevin McCarthy are echoing Trump’s baseless attacks, floating a political impeachment, and wasting taxpayer dollars instead of working with President Biden on actually delivering lower costs, more jobs, and safer communities for the American people.”

Mr Trump spoke to Mr Zelensky in 2019 in what the ex-president has referred to as a “perfect” phone call.

At the time, Mr Zelensky was requesting US missiles as his country was trying to resist what later became the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.

“I would like you to do us a favour though,” Mr Trump responded on the call, before going on to ask that Mr Zelensky help him find DNC emails that he suggested, without evidence, were located on a server in Ukraine.

Mr Trump also asked that Mr Zelensky discuss investigating Hunter Biden with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr. The phone call prompted a complaint by a whistleblower which later led to the impeachment inquiry.

He was impeached in the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was acquitted in the Senate, where one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted with the Democrats.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in