President Trump is not trying to “hurt” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, he told a group of reporters outside of the White House on Sunday morning.
“He is a great gentleman,” the president said of Joe Biden. “He is doing a fantastic job and he’s only going to do what’s right.”
“Just so you understand,” Trump continued, “the conversation I had with the president of Ukraine was absolutely perfect. People are going to find out who these people are that are trying to subvert our country because here we go again. These are bad people.”
The president then compared the current “witch hunt” of the Ukrainian controversy with the Russian investigation where the president was eventually found innocent on seemingly endless allegations of colluding with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.
“Unfortunately, this [investigation] one is reverting now to Joe Biden. He’s done some very bad things, but I’m not really looking to hurt him, to be honest. He needs all the help he can get. I am not looking to hurt him and I am not looking to hurt his family,” Trump added.
“But, the corruption and what he said are terrible things,” the president said as he walked away from the reporters.
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NEW: Pres. Trump says he's "not looking to hurt" Joe Biden or his family amid fallout over conversation with Ukrainian leader: "He's done some very bad things, but I'm not really looking to hurt him, to be honest. He needs all the help he can get." https://t.co/u3fvcUIiW3 pic.twitter.com/4NZNARPVRs
— ABC News (@ABC) September 22, 2019
The president and Biden have been tangled together in an embroiled controversy concerning Biden’s son, Hunter, and his position on a Ukrainian energy company board. The controversy started when a whistleblower within the Trump administration shared some of the contents of the conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The controversy also involves a prior investigation into Hunter Biden by the Ukrainian government which then-Vice President Joe Biden stopped by threatening to cut $1 billion in foreign aid.
ABC News reports:
When Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, endeavored in early 2019 to have former Vice President Joe Biden investigated in Ukraine, one of his points of contact was the country’s former prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, whose ouster in March of 2016 — and Biden’s involvement in it — has become the subject of controversy.
During an appearance on CNN Thursday night, Giuliani said “of course” he asked the Ukrainians to investigate Biden, before backtracking.
“I didn’t ask them to look into Joe Biden,” Giuliani said. “I asked them to look into the allegations that related to my client, which tangentially involved Joe Biden in a massive bribery scheme.”
The “bribery scheme” Giuliani has accused Biden of dates back to 2014, when the then-vice president led the Obama administration’s efforts to root out corruption in Kiev in the wake of the Ukrainian revolution. As part of his efforts, Biden called for the dismissal of Shokin, who had ostensibly been leading a probe into Burisma, an oil company that had recently added the president’s son, Hunter Biden, to its board of directors.