- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 21, 2019

President Trump said Saturday the media is “fabricating” a story about him pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate the son of Democratic frontrunner Joseph R. Biden, while ignoring a story about Mr. Biden essentially blackmailing Ukrainian leaders to lay off his son.

“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet.

Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Biden angrily accused the president Saturday of “using every element of his presidency to try and smear me.” He called for an investigation into Mr. Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president.

“You should be asking him the question: Why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader?” Mr. Biden said. “This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. The House should investigate. To get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me and imply things … this is outrageous. You have never seen anything like this from any president.”

Mr. Biden angrily jabbed his finger at a reporter who asked if he had ever spoken to his son about his foreign business dealings, and said he hadn’t.

A government whistleblower has accused Mr. Trump of making an inappropriate promise to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call in late July. The complaint reportedly alleges that Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky to work with his attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Hunter Biden’s post with an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch while his father was serving as vice president.

At the time, the U.S. was considering withholding $250 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Mr. Trump said Saturday his conversations with the Ukrainian leader were proper.

“Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!” he said.

In 2015, then-Vice President Biden told Ukrainian leaders that the U.S. would withhold $1 billion in aid unless they fired the country’s top prosecutor. That prosecutor had inherited an investigation of Hunter Biden’s connections to the energy company, although Mr. Biden and other Obama administration officials said they wanted the prosecutor ousted for ignoring corruption.

Mr. Trump called the new development the “Ukraine Witch Hunt.”

“Now that the Democrats and the Fake News Media have gone ‘bust’ on every other of their Witch Hunt schemes, they are trying to start one just as ridiculous as the others, call it the Ukraine Witch Hunt, while at the same time trying to protect Sleepy Joe Biden. Will fail again!” Mr. Trump said.

House Democrats are demanding a copy of an inspector general’s report which details the whistleblower’s complaint and determined the issue was “urgent.”

Joe Biden called on the president Friday to release a transcript of his phone call with the Ukrainian leader.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called on Attorney General William P. Barr Friday to give Congress the whistleblower report and any guidance provided to the Director of National Intelligence, who is refusing to turn over the report to lawmakers.

“If media reports are correct that President Trump delayed military aid appropriated by Congress in order to get Ukraine to investigate a political opponent, it’s difficult not to see that as an abuse of presidential authority, plain and simple,” she said.

“Withholding the whistleblower report that led to these allegations is also unacceptable. Covering this up will only make matters worse for this administration. I encourage them to clear this up as soon as possible.”

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