‘He’s laughing at us’: Joe Biden for first time calls for Trump to be impeached | US news

‘He’s laughing at us’: Joe Biden for first time calls for Trump to be impeached | US news





Joe Biden has for the first time called for Donald Trump to be impeached for abusing the powers of his office to help his own re-election.

Delivering a blistering 25-minute speech at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Biden, the former vice-president under Barack Obama, departed from his usual campaign pitch and signalled that he will aggressively confront Trump as the president pushes unfounded accusations that Biden and his son Hunter had nefarious dealings in Ukraine.

Trump is “shooting holes in the constitution”, Biden said, by asking foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 election by pursuing dirt on the Bidens and then refusing to cooperate with a resulting House impeachment inquiry.

“This is a president who has decided this nation doesn’t have the tools, the power, the political will” to punish bad behavior, Biden said, cataloguing a litany of Trump’s misdeeds that he said warrant impeachment.

“He’s not just testing us,” Biden said. “He’s laughing at us.”

Trump retorted via Twitter. “So pathetic,” he wrote. The president maintained he had done nothing wrong.

Biden referenced Trump’s past claim that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and get away with it.

Biden said: “It’s no joke. He’s shooting holes in the constitution. And we cannot let him get away with it.”

Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives speaker and the most powerful Democrat in Congress, announced an impeachment inquiry against Trump on 24 September after a whistleblower alleged the White House had attempted to cover up a July call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.

At issue is the question of whether Trump abused his office by using its power to his own political advantage, by pushing a Ukrainian investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

There is no evidence to support Trump’s claims that Biden exploited his influence as vice-president to aid his son or his business.

Biden on Wednesday again condemned Trump’s “lies and smears and distortion” and said the president peddles them because he fears facing Biden in a general election.

“He’s trying to create a campaign where truth and facts are irrelevant,” Biden said, adding that the spectacle covers the president’s “manifest incompetence”.

“We’re not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for president,” Biden added. “I’m not going to let him get away with it. He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.”

Without evidence, and contrary to the accounts of several Ukrainian officials, Trump has claimed Biden used his role as vice-president to protect his son from corruption investigations when he pressed for the firing of the top Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, during Obama’s second term.

Ukrainian officials, including one Shokin successor, have disputed Trump’s claims, and Biden has previously noted that the Obama administration’s position was supported by many other western governments, who saw Shokin as incompetent or corrupt.

Many of the other 19 Democratic 2020 candidates have long supported the opening of an impeachment inquiry into Trump, following the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference into the 2016 election and links between the Trump 2016 campaign and Moscow.

Biden’s speech on Wednesday came as his campaign continues internal deliberations over the best way to handle Trump’s broadsides and an impeachment inquiry that could last months and potentially never result in the Republican-led Senate removing Trump from office – even if the Democratic-led House impeaches him.

“When I announced my candidacy,” Biden recalled, “I said I was running in order to restore the soul of America. That wasn’t hyperbole.”

But his advisers also point to the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump dominated media narratives of the Republican primary and the general election against Hillary Clinton with a barrage of attacks on his opponents that forced them to campaign on his terms.

Biden nodded at that reality, as well, and promised he won’t let that get in his way.

“I’m not going to be distracted,” he said. “None of these attacks are true, and I’m going to stay focused on your lives. That’s what this election is about,” he continued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report




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