Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday demanded that President Trump release the transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, amid reports that Ukraine is at the center of a whistleblower’s complaint over Trump’s contacts with a foreign leader.
Biden’s campaign released a statement hours after Trump dismissed growing scrutiny over the whistleblower complaint, which was reportedly filed by a member of the intelligence community.
“If these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country. This behavior is particularly abhorrent because it exploits the foreign policy of our country and undermines our national security for political purposes,” Biden said in the statement.
“It means that he used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation—a partner that is still under direct assault from Russia—pushing Ukraine to subvert the rule of law in the express hope of extracting a political favor,” he added.
Trump told reporters he didn’t know who the whistleblower was while deriding the complaint as “partisan” and “ridiculous.”
He also railed against the media coverage of the complaint and said reporters should instead focus on Biden’s ties to Ukraine during his time as vice president.
“It doesn’t matter what I discussed, but I’ll tell you this, somebody ought to look into Joe Biden’s statement,” Trump said, claiming his call with the Ukrainian president was “totally appropriate.”
Biden responded to Trump’s allegations about him earlier Friday, telling reporters on the campaign trail that “not one single, credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertion. Not one single one. So I have no comment except the president should start to be president.”
“Such clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta,” Biden said in his statement Friday.
“At a minimum, Donald Trump should immediately release the transcript of the call in question, so that the American people can judge for themselves, and direct the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to stop stonewalling and release the whistleblower notification to the Congress.”
Three House committees — Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform — are investigating whether Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, “were misappropriating the American foreign policy apparatus for political gain,” the New York Times reports.
These investigations are in response to reports that the Trump administration “delayed a package of military assistance to the new government in Ukraine,” as reported by the NYT.
The committees say they will investigate whether that lack of military aid is part of an alleged effort by Trump “to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing politically-motivated investigations, including of former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.”