President Trump said during a recent interview that discussing an investigation into Joe Biden and son, Hunter, for their alleged role in a potential scandal in the Ukraine would be “appropriate.”
When pressed, Trump implied that discussions for a potential probe with US Attorney General William Barr were still on the table, replying, “Certainly it would be an appropriate thing to speak to [Barr] about, but I have not done that as of yet.”
“It could be a very big situation,” added Trump, who has also stated that, should damaging information surface, the impact on Biden would be minimal “because he’s a Democrat.”
President Donald Trump told POLITICO on Friday that it would be “appropriate” for him to speak to Attorney General Bill Barr about launching an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, or his son, Hunter.
The question of whether Trump could pressure Barr to probe Biden is coming under scrutiny after Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, said he would be traveling to Ukraine to urge the incoming government there to look at Hunter Biden’s involvement with a Ukrainian energy company that has reportedly been in prosecutors’ crosshairs. The efforts appear to be part of a broader campaign by Trump’s allies to damage the former Democratic vice president’s White House campaign and have raised questions about whether Trump’s team is trying to enlist a foreign government to aid the president’s re-election bid.
“Certainly it would be an appropriate thing to speak to him about, but I have not done that as of yet. … It could be a very big situation,” Trump said in a 15-minute telephone interview on Friday afternoon, which stemmed from POLITICO’s inquiries for a separate story.
Barr also drew attention during his recent congressional testimony when he demurred on a question about whether anybody in the White House had ever suggested that he launch an investigation.
The two Bidens’ connections to Ukraine have become a subject of deep interest among the president’s political allies, who charge that Biden as vice president pressured the Ukrainian government to oust a prosecutor in order to benefit his son. The Ukrainian prosecutor had reportedly faced allegations of ignoring corruption among Ukraine’s business and political elite. No evidence has emerged that Joe Biden was acting to assist his son, and it is not clear that the official was probing the company at the time.
The New York Times earlier this month reported on Giuliani’s efforts to investigate and publicize the issue.
The president argued that the alleged conflict of interest, or appearance thereof, was not mushrooming into an all-out scandal because Biden is a Democrat.
“Because he’s a Democrat,” Trump said, the report had about “one-hundredth” the impact as it would have if he “were a Republican.”