WILMINGTON, Del. — Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday if President Donald Trump does not cooperate with Congress, he would leave lawmakers with “no choice” but to start impeachment proceedings.
“It is time for this administration stop stonewalling and provide the Congress with all the facts it needs, including a copy of the formal complaint made by the whistleblower. And it’s time for the Congress to fully investigate the conduct of this president,” Biden said.
The Democratic presidential candidate said if Trump “does not comply with such a request from the Congress, if he continues to obstruct Congress, and flaunt the law, Donald Trump will leave Congress, in my view, no choice but to initiate impeachment.
“That would be a tragedy, but a tragedy of his own making.”
Biden’s comments were the most direct statement he has made on impeachment.
But by making his call for Trump’s removal conditional, he stopped short of some of his Democratic rivals, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who are calling for the House to impeach Trump now.
“If we allow a president to get away with shredding the United States Constitution, that will last forever,” Biden said.
“Denying Congress the information, which it is constitutionally entitled to, and obstructing its efforts to investigate actions is not the conduct of an American president. It’s an abuse of power.”
Trump is facing intense criticism over a July phone call during which, according to a person familiar with the matter, he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. Trump on Sunday acknowledged the phone call and that he discussed Biden, but denied doing anything improper.
Trump tweeted Tuesday that he has “authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine.”
Trump asked his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to put a hold on millions in military aid to Ukraine roughly one week before a call with Zelensky, two senior administration officials said on Monday.
The call between Trump and Zelensky, which took place one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about Russian interference in U.S. elections, was also part of a whistleblower complaint submitted to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, the source added
Trump admitted Tuesday that he delayed aid to Ukraine ahead of the call to Zelensky, giving the excuse that he was waiting for European nations to contribute their fair share of aid.