POLITICS
09/20/2019 16:12 EDT | Updated 09/20/2019 18:45 EDT

Trump Asked Ukraine President To Target Joe Biden's Son: Reports

The House is investigating whether Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani pressured Ukraine to target Hunter Biden in an effort to help his 2020 reelection campaign.

President Donald Trump repeatedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2020 contender’s son in a phone call in July, The Wall Street Journal first reported Friday.

The president asked Zelensky around eight times to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on a probe, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The Washington Post later independently reported similar information, also citing unnamed sources.

On the call with Ukraine, Trump did not mention foreign aid, per the WSJ source, who also said they didn’t think Trump offered the Ukrainian president anything in exchange for help with such a probe. 

The report comes two days after news broke of a whistleblower complaint against the president involving his conduct with foreign leaders. According to The Washington Post and The New York Times, the complaint involves Ukraine.

The Post first reported on an intelligence official’s complaint on Wednesday, writing that the official approached Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson with claims that Trump had made troubling “promises” during communication with a foreign leader. The Times then reported Thursday that the whistleblower’s complaint involves additional incidents involving Trump.

Earlier this month, several House committees opened investigations into whether Trump pressured Ukraine to intervene in the 2020 election, including whether Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani urged Ukrainian officials to target Hunter Biden, Biden’s son.

“A growing public record indicates that, for nearly two years, the President and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing two politically-motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activity,” a group of committee chairmen wrote.

Part of their investigation is looking into whether Trump and Giuliani asked Ukraine officials to target Hunter Biden, whose past dealings in the country have recently come under scrutiny. Among the claims House members are probing is that Trump threatened to withhold $250 million in aid to Ukraine over these requests ― though he reinstated it several days after the probes were announced.

In an interview with CNN Thursday, Giuliani first denied asking Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, then said he did ask them to look into matters involving Biden.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.

“If these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country,” Biden said in a statement Friday, saying the alleged request “undermines our national security for political purposes.”

The former vice president also called for Trump to release a transcript of the July call, and for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to release the whistleblower complaint to Congress. 

Earlier on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the reports of a whistleblower complaint around Trump’s communications with a foreign leader “raise grave, urgent concerns for our national security.”

“If the President has done what has been alleged, then he is stepping into a dangerous minefield with serious repercussions for his Administration and our democracy,” Pelosi said, adding that the whistleblower complaint should be shown to Congress “immediately.”