NEW YORK – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday shrugged off talk about impeachment over reports that he had asked his Ukrainian counterpart to launch an investigation that could damage Democratic political rival Joe Biden.
Asked how seriously he was taking the threat of impeachment by Congress, Trump said, “Not at all seriously.”
On Sunday, Trump acknowledged that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Biden and his son in a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on Friday said Trump repeatedly asked the Ukrainian leader in the call to investigate the involvement of Biden’s son, Hunter, with a Ukrainian energy company. He also asked Zelenskiy to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who had been urging Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his family.
As he arrived at the United Nations for the General Assembly on Monday, Trump told reporters: “We had a perfect phone call with the president of Ukraine. Everybody knows it. It’s just a Democrat witch hunt.”
Trump did not provide evidence the allegations were politically motivated. Media reports about the phone call stemmed from a classified whistleblower report from the U.S. intelligence community.
The call has sparked a political battle between Democrats warning of a national security threat and Republicans turning it into an attack on former vice president Biden, a frontrunner in the field of Democrats seeking to challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Democrats are outraged that Trump may have sought help in the election from a foreign country, especially after Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded Russia waged a widespread influence and propaganda campaign to help Trump win in 2016.