President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City on September 23, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- President Donald Trump on Monday continued to push the baseless accusation former Vice President Joe Biden inappropriately pressured Ukraine while in office, and suggested a Republican would get the death penalty if they “ever did what Joe Biden did.”
- “If that ever happened, if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair by right now,” Trump said.
- Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have suggested that the former vice president inappropriately pushed for the Ukrainian government to oust its top prosecutor to benefit his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies from April 2014 until early this year.
- There’s no evidence Biden or his son did anything nefarious or illegal.
- Trump’s comments came as he faces scrutiny over a whistleblower complaint that’s been linked to a conversation he had with Ukraine’s president in July.
There’s no evidence that Joe Biden did anything illegal or unethical in his interactions with Ukraine as vice president. But President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that a Republican would get the “electric chair” if they “ever did what Joe Biden did” as he spoke about the former vice president’s activities in relation to Kiev.
“Joe Biden and his son are corrupt…But the fake news doesn’t want to report it, because they’re Democrats,” Trump said as he met with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City.
He added. “If that ever happened, if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair by right now.” The president alleged there’s a “double-standard” on corruption in the media and told reporters they’re “crooked as hell.”
Trump ends his bilateral media availability with the Polish president by claiming that “if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did … they’d be getting the electric chair right now,” before calling the assembled journalists “crooked as hell.” 😳 pic.twitter.com/38q03H2SGy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)
September 23, 2019
Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have suggested that the former vice president inappropriately pushed for the Ukrainian government to oust its top prosecutor to benefit his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies from April 2014 until early this year.
Biden took point on Ukraine issues for the Obama administration, and focused heavily on pushing Kiev to root out corruption. This included calling for the ouster of Viktor Shokin, the former prosecutor general.
Shokin was widely accused of turning a blind eye to corruption, and was pushed out in March 2016. Prior to this, he oversaw investigations into the Ukrainian gas company Hunter worked for, Burisma Holdings.
But the probe into Burisma was dormant by the time Shokin was ousted and his successor, Yuriy Lutsenko, said there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Biden on his son.
“I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of US presidential elections. Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to its board,” Shokin said in a May interview with Bloomberg.
Trump’s attacks on Biden come as he faces scrutiny over a mysterious whistleblower complaint
Trump has pushed the baseless narrative that Biden corruptly used his office to help his son amid scrutiny over a whistleblower complaint from a member of the intelligence community. The complaint reportedly focuses on a conversation Trump had with a foreign leader and is centered around Ukraine.
Trump in late July spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected in April, about investigating Biden and his son.
Several weeks later, his administration began reviewing $250 million in military aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress. The Trump administration released the aid to Ukraine earlier this month, but questions have still been raised as to whether the president dangled the funds over Zelensky in order to push him to investigate a political opponent.
The whistleblower complaint has been withheld from Congress by the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, despite being described as credible and of “urgent concern” by the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.
The Trump administration has also refused to release the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky in which the president reportedly pressured the newly-elected Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden eight times.
Trump has rejected the notion he said or did anything inappropriate on the call with Zelensky, and on Monday said he did not threaten to withhold aid from Ukraine as a quid pro quo in pushing for an investigation for Biden.
“I did not make a statement that ‘you have to do this or I’m not going to give you aid,'” Trump said.
The president added: “I wouldn’t do that. With that being said … you know we’re giving a lot of money away to Ukraine and other places — you want to see a country that’s going to be not corrupt.”
As Trump arrived at the UNGA in New York earlier in the day, he said, “It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country you think is corrupt? One of the reasons [Zelensky] got elected is he was going to stop corruption, so it’s very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption.”
- Read more:
- A mysterious exchange between Trump and a foreign leader is Washington’s latest obsession. Here’s what is actually going on.
- ‘DEFCON 1’: US officials are rocked by a whistleblower complaint involving Trump’s talks with a foreign leader
- ‘We have our secrets’: Ukraine covered for Donald Trump, and said it won’t release any details of his controversial phone call about Biden
- Trump officials struggle to justify him pressing Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden while his own children do business around the world