Trump asserts he has 'absolute right' to ask other countries for help probing corruption

President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE on Thursday night defended his push for foreign governments to investigate allegations of corruption, asserting he has an "absolute right" to call for such help from a foreign power amid blowback over his push for probes into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE.

"As the President of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!" Trump tweeted.

Trump maintained in a subsequent tweet that his push "isn't about a Campaign," despite political backlash for seeking probes related to Biden, a top political rival who is leading polls for his party's nomination to take on Trump in 2020.

The president fired off a series of tweets on Thursday night swiping at Democrats and their impeachment inquiry while also touting remarks from Republicans offering their take on a marathon hearing on Capitol Hill earlier in the day as part of the inquiry.

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Democrats emerged Thursday evening from a 10-hour deposition with Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerCNN obtains audio of 2019 Giuliani call linked to Ukraine meddling allegations GOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports MORE, the president's former special envoy to Ukraine, saying that Volker had validated many of the previous assertions from a government whistleblower surrounding Trump's July phone call with the president of Ukraine in which Trump pressed his counterpart to "look into" Biden.

Meanwhile, Republicans rushed to Trump's defense following the marathon briefing, arguing that Volker's appearance provided new information about Biden's son, Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Trump has called for Ukraine to investigate the elder Biden and his push as vice president in 2016 for Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was looking into the energy company. Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing, and no evidence has emerged of wrongdoing on the part of either one.

Democrats formally launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump based on his urging of Ukraine to investigate Biden. They have argued that such a move amounts to seeking foreign help to influence an election, a topic that has dominated much of Trump's time in office.

The chairwoman of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) on Thursday retweeted an earlier message from herself emphasizing that "it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election."

FEC Chairwoman Ellen L. Weintraub shared the message on Twitter on Thursday after the president publicly encouraged both Ukraine and China to investigate Biden and his son. Trump made the remarks in front of cameras on the South Lawn of the White House.

The Biden campaign issued a statement decrying Trump's remarks, calling them "a grotesque choice of lies over truth and self over country." The campaign likened them to Trump's comments during the 2016 election in which he suggested Russia should try and find Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE's missing emails.