The White House:
Published 7: 28 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2019
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Former Vice President Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of trying to “hijack an election” after new details from an intelligence agency whistleblower’s complaint about a controversial call between the president and a foreign leader emerged Thursday.
The complaint details allegations that Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden and his son, but more notably draws out how high-ranking Trump administration officials allegedly tried to “lock down” details of the call with Ukraine’s newly-elected president Volodymyr Zelensky
“He’d like to get foreign help to win elections,” Biden told a few dozen attendees at a campaign fundraiser in San Marino, Calif.
The comments from Biden were perhaps his strongest admonishment of Trump to date over the Ukraine controversy.
In the July 25 call, Trump encouraged Zelensky to work with Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to look into the Bidens dealings in Ukraine, according to a summary of the call released by the White House.
Trump and Giuliani for months have accused, without presenting evidence to back up their allegation, that Biden — while still serving as vice president — demanded the ouster of then-Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin because the prosecutor was investigating an oligarch tied to a company called Burisma Group. At the time, Hunter Biden was on the board of Ukraine’s Burisma, a position that paid him $50,000 per month.
The former president — who is now a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination — says that Trump has been attempting to sully him and his family without any evidence.
Biden quoted an excerpt from the whistleblower’s newly-declassified complaint alleging that Trump was seeking election help from Ukraine. He also pointed to a recent Washington Post report to make the case that there’s not been “one shred of evidence” found showing wrongdoing by Biden’s family.
“There’s nothing anybody in my family did wrong … at all,” Biden told the friendly crowd, according to a press pool report.
Biden made his comments hours after Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee on the ongoing controversy that has spurred a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of Trump.
The White House on Wednesday released a summary of a July 25 phone call that shows Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and the former vice president’s son.
The whistleblower complaint released Thursday alleged White House staff took to exceptional steps to “lock down” all records of the Trump-Zelensky call after the conversation.
The declassified, partially redacted nine-page report alleges White House officials were “directed” to remove electronic records of the phone conversation from an internal computer system where the material is typically stored and instead the records were placed in a highly secure system reserved for classified information pertaining to national security matters.
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