Former Vice President Joe Biden said during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday that “it’s awful hard to avoid the conclusion” President Donald Trump committed “an impeachable offense” by pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden.
It was the furthest Biden has gone on the subject of Trump’s impeachment – which most of the other leading 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have called for.
Asked how the matter ranks on the “outlandish scale” of American politics, Biden said: “18 out of 10.”
Biden’s comments came the day the White House released a transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
Trump on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing, saying there was “no pressure whatsoever” in his phone call with Zelensky.
The call prompted a whistleblower to file a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said the Democratic-controlled House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry.
Biden called Trump’s actions “such a blatant abuse of power that I don’t think it can stand.”
“The idea that someone would call a head of a foreign state, ahead of time withhold significant military aid that’s badly needed in order to prevent the Russian separatists who are in Ukraine, from taking over Ukraine, and then ask basically can you cooperate with Rudy Giuliani – he’s coming over,” Biden said. He also criticized Trump for “getting the Justice Department engaged in this.”
Kimmel asked if Trump committed an impeachable offense.
“Based on the material they acknowledged today, it seems to me it’s awful hard to avoid the conclusion that it is an impeachable offense. And a violation of constitutional responsibility,” Biden said.
Still, Biden said he would remain focused on the 2020 election, rather than impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill.
“I’m confident in the ability of the House and Senate to deal with this,” he said. “My job is to just out and flat beat him. What I can’t let happen I can’t let this distract me in a way that takes me away from the issues that really are the reason why I’m running.”