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Biden blasts Trump, demands he release transcript of call with foreign leader
Former Vice President Joe Biden lashed out at President Trump on Friday amid growing scrutiny over a whistleblower complaint that reportedly raised concerns about a call the president had involving Ukraine, saying Trump should release a transcript of the call.
Biden's campaign released a statement from the Democratic presidential front-runner hours after Trump dismissed growing scrutiny over the complaint, which was filed by a member of the intelligence community and reportedly raised concerns about Trump's discussion with a foreign leader.
"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 earlier Friday dismissed mounting scrutiny over the complaint, saying he didn't know who the whistleblower was while deriding the complaint as "partisan" and "ridiculous."
He also went after media coverage of the complaint and said the focus should instead be on Biden's ties to Ukraine during his time as vice president.
Trump declined to say whether he discussed Biden or his family during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this summer, asserting it "doesn't matter what I discussed."
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."
In his statement Friday night responding to reports about the whistleblower complaint relating to Trump, Biden said: "Such clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta."
"At 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."
Trump and other Republicans on Capitol Hill have criticized Biden over his efforts in 2016 as vice president to convince Ukraine to dismiss a prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the company's board.
No evidence has emerged to suggest Biden acted with his son's interests in mind, and Hunter Biden in a statement to The New York Times earlier this year denied speaking about the company with his father.
Still, Trump and his allies maintain that the former vice president should be investigated in Ukraine.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump told Zelensky roughly eight times during a call in July to work with with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Biden's son.
Giuliani told CNN in a combative interview Thursday night that he has asked Ukraine to investigate Biden, and the Journal reported that the Trump lawyer mounted an extensive effort in recent months to convince Ukrainian officials to launch such a probe.
The New York Times reported later Friday that Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate Biden is part of the whistleblower complaint.
Intrigue surrounding the complaint escalated Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that it involved a "promise" Trump reportedly made to a foreign leader.
The issue has led to a standoff between the executive branch and Congress, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday urging the administration to release the complaint.
"We must be sure that the President and his Administration are conducting our national security and foreign policy in the best interest of the American people, not the President's personal interest," she said in a statement.
Joseph Maguire, the acting intelligence chief, will testify publicly before Congress next week over the complaint. Meanwhile, Trump is slated to meet with Zelensky on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week in New York, a senior administration official told reporters earlier Friday.
- Tal Axelrod contributed
Updated: 7:35 p.m.