Trump Admits Pressuring Ukraine To Smear Biden
Speaking with reporters this week, President Donald Trump made clear that he not only pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son for corruption but also that he tied the investigation to government aid.
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait noted that Trump did not name Biden during his remarks to reporters “but did make it clear that ‘corruption’ was his code word for his demand to investigate” his potential Democratic opponent.
When a reporter asked the president if “whether, on this call, you raised Joe Biden or his son’s name with Ukraine,” Trump responded:
“Well, I don’t even want to mention it, but certainly I’d have every right to. I’d have every right to. If there’s corruption, and we’re paying lots of money to a country, we don’t want a country we’re giving massive aid to to be corrupting our system, and we don’t want it to be corrupt in any way.”
The president also admitted on Sunday that his phone call with Ukraine’s president was primarily about the “corruption” issue, this time bringing Biden's name into the mix.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son [contributing] to the corruption already in Ukraine,” Trump said.
On Monday, the president followed up his previous comments by defending his desire to tie military aid to the investigation, saying, “It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”