Joe Biden, who for months had resisted calling unequivocally for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, did so forcefully Wednesday.
“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself by obstructing justice, refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry,” Biden, a Democratic candidate for president, said during a speech in Rochester, New Hampshire. “He’s already convicted himself in full view of the world and the American people. Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation, and committed impeachable acts. To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.”
Biden’s condemnations of Trump have escalated in recent weeks, first after evidence surfaced that Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, over unfounded accusations surrounding Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country while his father was vice president. At the time, Biden issued a conditional call for impeachment, if Trump didn’t cooperate with a congressional investigation.
Since then, Trump has publicly called on Ukraine and China to investigate the Biden family. On Tuesday, the White House said it would not comply with House Democrats’ requests, calling the inquiry “invalid” on procedural grounds. (The House has not taken a formal impeachment vote.)
"He's shooting holes in the Constitution,” Biden said of Trump on Wednesday, “and we cannot let him get away with it."
Trump and some of his allies have, without evidence, accused Biden of pushing for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he believed the prosecutor was investigating Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company. Biden was one of many officials from Western governments and institutions who wanted the prosecutor out.
Biden said Wednesday that, as he and his supporters have emphasized in recent weeks, Trump’s attacks suggest a fear of facing Biden in the general election.
“He’s basically a coward, he’s afraid,” Biden said. “He’s afraid about just how badly I will beat him next November.”
“I’m not going to let him get away with it,” Biden said a few moments later. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.
Trump was tuned in to the speech.
“So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment - and I did nothing wrong,” Trump tweeted before Biden had finished his remarks. “Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!”