Trump accuses Biden of 'quid pro quo' hours after Mulvaney remarks

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE on Thursday accused Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE of engaging in a quid pro quo hours after his own acting chief of staff appeared to admit that the Trump administration had done the same with Ukraine before seeking to walk back his remarks.

The president zeroed in on the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden during a campaign rally in Dallas in a continuation of his effort to paint the family as corrupt.

"Look at the terrible foreign corruption of the Bidens. I hate to talk about him. You know why? I don’t think he's got a chance," Trump told the crowd.

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Trump said Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy for the Obama administration and sought the firing of the then-Ukrainian prosecutor general while his son, Hunter Biden "was paid massive sums of money [to] buy a Ukrainian energy company."

"Now that’s what you call quid pro quo," Trump said.

Trump ripped the news media for calling his allegations of corruption "unsubstantiated," despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

The president's attacks on the former vice president came hours after acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDefense official testifies Ukraine was aware of issues with aid in July Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony MORE said during a briefing with reporters that aid for Ukraine was tied in part to Trump’s desire for help investigating the hack of the Democratic National Committee server and 2016 election interference.

“The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the things that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney later sought to walk back his comments, instead saying that "the only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption.”

Trump has publicly urged Ukraine and China to look into the Bidens. Those comments are at the heart of an impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats. 

Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a natural gas giant in Ukraine, in 2014. The company's founder was under investigation by prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who the U.S., United Kingdom and other Western governments argued had failed to rein in corruption in the country.

The U.S. threatened to withhold roughly $1 billion in loan guarantees if Shokin was not replaced as prosecutor general, a message Joe Biden delivered to officials in Kiev while serving as vice president and recounted during a 2018 Council on Foreign Relations conference.

Trump has also claimed that Hunter Biden got $1.5 billion from China, similarly alleging it is evidence of corruption involving the former vice president and his family.

Hunter Biden has business connections to China, but there is no evidence of how much he's made or that it had any relation to his father's work while in office.