For the first time, former vice president and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden has called for President Donald Trump's impeachment, saying the White House occupant is a "threat to American democracy" and has "violated" his oath of office.
His party has launched an impeachment inquiry over claims that Trump pressured Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 phone call to look into what the US leader said were corrupt business deals involving Biden.
Democrats say that Trump tried to coerce Zelensky by holding back US military aid to Ukraine. Trump has denied wrongdoing and has dismissed the probe as a "witch hunt".
Speaking at an election rally in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Biden, 76, said, “No President in American history ever dared engage in such unimaginable behaviour. With his words and with his actions, President Trump has indicted himself. By obstructing justice and refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry, he has already convicted himself."
“In full view of the American people, Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation, and committed impeachable acts. To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, and our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” said Biden as for the first time he publicly supported Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives to impeach Trump.
“And that is not only because of what he has done. The answer to whether he has committed acts sufficient to warrant impeachment is obvious,” he said.
“We see it in Trump's own words. We see it in the texts from the State Department officials that have been made public. We see it in his pulling much of the United States government into his corrupt scheme,” Biden said.
“But we must remember that impeachment isn't only about what a president has done. It is also about the threat a president poses to the nation if allowed to remain in office. One thing about this president is absolutely clear - he sees no limit on his power,” said the former vice president.
Biden alleged that Trump believes that the entire United States government can be corrupted into furthering his personal political needs. He is even willing to hold Congressionally-appropriated aid to foreign nations hostage to his personal political demands, Biden said.
“He believes if he does something, it's legal. And perhaps most importantly, he believes there is nothing we can do about it. He believes he can and will get away with anything he does,” he said.
Trump was quick to slam Biden and accused him of being corrupt.
“He's falling like a rock. We have him on tape with corruption. He's getting the prosecutor for--I guess, it was USD2 billion (sic), saying we're not going to give you the USD 2 billion, or whatever the amount was, unless you get rid of this prosecutor. And then he goes, lo and behold, the prosecutor was gone,” he told reporters at the White House.
“USD 1.2 (sic) billion, not a lot of money. And then his son takes out USD 1.5 billion from China. The USD 50,000 a month that he was getting from the Ukraine looks like it's USD 168,000 split among him and somebody else, his friend. And also, there's a payment of about USD3 million to his son. His son just got thrown out of the Navy. So, Biden is dropping like a rock,” Trump said.
Trump claimed that Biden is unlikely to make to the presidency. “I didn't think he was going to make it for a long time. I don't think he's going to make it. I guess this is one way he could do it. You know, he didn't say that until right now when he sees what's happening to him. I guess he's no longer the front runner,” said the President.
“I feel badly for him because I know he's going through a lot. He's been hit and he's been caught red handed. I mean, here's a man who is on tape saying exactly what he's going to do in terms of corruption, and he gets away with it. If that ever happened to a Republican, they'd be getting the electric chair right now. They'd be right now being walked into the electric chair. It's a whole different standard,” he said.