Donald Trump admitted on Sunday that he raised former vice president Joe Biden in a conversation with Ukraine's leader about corruption, as US secretary of state Mike Pompeo was forced to insist that the president did not apply pressure on Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival's son.
Mr Trump told reporters he spoke to Ukraine's new president after his summer election and said that "we don't want our people, like vice president Biden and his son" contributing to corruption already happening in the Eastern European nation.
Mr Trump has claimed the younger Mr Biden’s business dealings were propped up by his father’s position and repeatedly asked the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation, according to reports.
There is growing concern on Capitol Hill and across the country over Mr Trump’s reported phone call with Mr Zelensky in July, in which he is alleged to have repeatedly demanded an investigation into Hunter Biden, who held lucrative contracts in Ukraine while his father was vice president.
"The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place," Mr Trump said before departing on a trip to Texas and Ohio. "Was largely the fact that we don't want our people, like vice president Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine."
In an interview with ABC's This Week, Mr Pompeo accused Mr Trump's political rival of intervening to protect his son from an investigation in Ukraine, but said Mr Trump had not applied pressure for an investigation to be opened.
On Saturday, Mr Biden called for a probe of Mr Trump over the whistleblower's claims, saying: “Here’s what I know: I know Trump deserves to be investigated.”
He said Mr Trump “is violating every basic norm of a president” and urged reporters to ask Mr Trump "why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that’s what happened”.
Mr Biden said that the president was using underhand tactics against him, because "he knows I'd beat him like a drum".
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