White House confirms Trump spoke with Ukraine about launching US probe into Joe Biden

'President Trump has asked Ukraine to fully cooperate with any Justice Department investigation into the actions of former vice president Joe Biden and his family in Ukraine'

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 04 October 2019 01:34
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Donald Trump says he wants both Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son

The White House said Donald Trump requested that Ukraine “fully cooperate with any Justice Department investigation” into Joe Biden after the president urged the country to launch its own probe into his 2020 political rival.

A newsletter the White House released on Wednesday initially said Mr Trump asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to cooperate with “the Justice Department’s investigation,” into Mr Biden, suggesting a probe had already been launched into the former vice president.

Mr Trump and his allies have accused Mr Biden of wrongdoing as his son served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company during his time in office — though there has been no evidence to support their claims.

The Daily Beast, which first reported on the little-noticed memo that was released during a chaotic week in Washington, reached out to the White House with questions about the potential existence of an ongoing US investigation into Mr Biden.

Shortly after, the White House newsletter was updated to replace “the investigation” with “any investigation,” according to the outlet.

Still, the confirmation appears to be the first time the White House has acknowledged Mr Trump spoke to Mr Zelensky about launching a US investigation into Mr Biden, who currently leads most national polls as the Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 primaries.

It also suggests the possibility that Mr Trump’s Justice Department could soon launch an investigation into the former vice president or his son, Hunter Biden, a potential move that has not yet been disclosed.

Speaking to reporters before departing from the White House for Florida on Thursday, the president publicly called for Ukraine and China to launch corruption investigations into the Bidens.

Mr Trump said he hoped Ukraine “would start a major investigation into the Bidens” before turning his attention to China.

“They should investigate the Bidens,” Mr Trump continued. “And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

He added: “I think Biden is going down”.

Mr Trump’s Ukraine scandal has proven to be one of the most controversial since he took office, with Democrats launching an official impeachment inquiry against the president after a whistleblower complaint about his phone call with Ukraine alleged an abuse of power.

The whistleblower, who reportedly came from within the US intelligence community, described efforts by the White House to “lock-down” any evidence of the call.

Mr Trump reportedly requested (£322.4m) in financial aid to the country withheld just days before the 25 July phone call.

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He spoke with Mr Zelensky the day after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill about Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was carried out as part of the Kremlin’s effort to sway the election in favour of Mr Trump.

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