Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the 2020 Democratic frontrunners, on Wednesday made his first outright statement in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying he poses a “threat” to the United States and “has already convicted himself.”
Biden has said previously only that he backed the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.
During a major Trump-focused campaign speech in early primary state New Hampshire, Biden sharply criticized Trump for asking Russia, Ukraine and China to investigate his domestic political foes. For those, and other actions, he told a crowd of supporters “he should be impeached.”
Biden cast the president as a “bully” and a “coward” who is “afraid of just how badly I will beat him next November.”
The vice president has been criticized in recent weeks for being too light-handed in responding to Trump’s contention that he and son Hunter Biden are guilty of corruption over the father’s work to oust what was widely viewed as a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor while the son sat on the board of an energy firm there.
Biden came out swinging in Rochester, N.H. He slammed Trump for “lies and distortions and smears”against him and his family, saying the president is trying to “undermine my candidacy for the nomination and the presidency, if I’m the nominee.
“He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy. …. He’s just doing what he’s always done: lie,” Biden said. “He has no shame though.”
As he has done recently with House Democrats’ live remarks about their impeachment investigation, the president was watching Biden’s remarks and live-tweeting them.
“So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment — and I did nothing wrong,” Trump wrote. “Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!”
So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment – and I did nothing wrong. Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
It was Trump’s latest in a daylong tweetstorm that started before 7 a.m.
Biden called Trump’s invitations and requests for other countries to look into or release information about his political foes “un-American,” saying “the ballot box is sacred ground in America.”
“That’s where we decide who leads us. That’s where we fulfill our duties as citizens,” he said. “We believe Americans should decide American elections, period. But Donald Trump will do anything to get elected.
“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself. He has already convicted himself — betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts.”
Biden also answered Trump’s charges that he helped push out the prosecutor because he was investigating the energy firm that employed his son.
“The rest of the world was threatening to stop supporting Ukraine” unless the prosecutor was fired, Biden said, explaining his demands of the Eastern European country while still in office.
While the president calls the Bidens “corrupt,” the Democratic candidate said Trump’s charges have “zero” credibility and amount to “flat out lies.”
“Classic Trump,” Biden said. “The abuse of power is a central aspect of the Trump presidency.”
Hours earlier, the president claimed — falsely, according to multiple polls —in a tweet that “Only 25 percent want the President Impeached”, and dubbed the inquiry “just a continuation of the greatest Scam and Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!”
It was not immediately clear to which poll the president was referring. One recent Washington Post poll found a clear majority of Americans support the inquiry.