Former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House campaign hammered President Trump over his remarks Thursday that Ukraine and China should open investigations into the 2020 candidate, saying the statements are evidence of an “ongoing abuse of power.”
“What Donald Trump just said on the South Lawn of the White House was this election’s equivalent of his infamous ‘Russia, if you’re listening’ moment from 2016 — a grotesque choice of lies over truth and self over the country,” Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said, referring to a comment Trump made in 2016 in which he appeared to invite Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The shot is the latest salvo of an ongoing controversy surrounding Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week announced the House would conduct a formal impeachment investigation over a July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he urged Kiev to open an investigation into Biden.
“I would think that if they were honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday when asked what he wanted Zelensky to do about Biden.
“China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump added before departing for an executive order signing in Florida.
Trump and conservative allies on Capitol Hill and in the media have claimed Biden abused his power as vice president when he lobbied Ukraine to dismiss a prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company on whose board his son sat. Biden has said he wanted the prosecutor fired for insufficient efforts to tackle corruption, and no evidence has emerged to suggest he acted to benefit his son.
Biden panned Trump’s remarks, saying he is grasping for conspiracy theories out of fear of losing the 2020 election.
“Now, with his administration in free-fall, Donald Trump is flailing and melting down on national television, desperately clutching for conspiracy theories that have been debunked and dismissed by independent, credible news organizations,” Bedingfield said. “It could not be more transparent: Donald Trump is terrified that Joe Biden will beat him like a drum.”