Biden calls for impeachment if Trump doesn't cooperate in whistleblower inquiry

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' Democratic strategist says Biden 'has to' get second place in Nevada MORE on Tuesday called for Congress to open impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE if the White House does not comply with congressional requests for information related to the president’s dealings with Ukraine and other investigations.

“The president should stop stonewalling this investigation and all the other investigations into his alleged wrongdoings,” Biden said during a brief speech in his home state of Delaware.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If the president does not comply with such a request by the Congress ... Donald Trump will leave Congress in my view with no choice but to initiate impeachment. That would be a tragedy, but a tragedy of his own making.”

The statement comes after reports surfaced that Trump withheld funds to Ukraine and pressured the country’s president to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.

Biden’s comments marked a stunning shift for the former vice president in a matter of days. He has refrained from calling for impeachment even as his fellow Democratic presidential candidates supported the measure, and even said as recently as Saturday that he was not yet ready to back such a move.

But for Biden, the controversy that has unfolded in Washington in recent days is now personal, centering on allegations that Trump sought to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid.

Biden brushed off the political implications of Trump’s alleged efforts, arguing that the president’s refusal to comply with congressional oversight requests posed a much larger threat to the United States.

“I can take the political attacks,” Biden said on Tuesday. “They’ll come and they’ll go and, in time, they’ll soon be forgotten. But if we allow a president to get away with shredding the United States Constitution, that will last forever.”

Trump has acknowledged that he raised corruption allegations against Biden during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and also confirmed that he held up military aid to Kiev.

But he said that the aid money was delayed because he wanted European countries to shoulder more of the financial burden, and pointed to the fact that the money was eventually released as evidence that the funding was not tied to his requests to investigate Biden and his son.

He announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he would release the “fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of his phone call with Zelensky in which he discussed opening an investigation into Biden and his son on Wednesday.

That transcript, Trump said, would show that his conversation with Zelensky was “very friendly and totally appropriate.”

Trump’s actions involving Ukraine are also reportedly the subject of a whistleblower complaint that the White House is withholding from Congress.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCongress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday that the whistleblower, whose identity has not been made public, had expressed interest in testifying before his panel and had requested guidance from the acting director of national intelligence on how to proceed.

“We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week,” Schiff tweeted.

The allegations have prompted many House Democrats who were previously wary about the prospect to throw their support behind impeachment proceedings. So far more than 150 House Democrats have backed impeachment.

Updated at 4:01 p.m.