Trump, Biden spar over Ukraine after whistle-blower complaint, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump, Biden spar over Ukraine after whistle-blower complaint

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Ex-VP and president spar over Ukraine after whistle-blower complaints

WASHINGTON Former US vice-president Joe Biden accused US President Donald Trump on Saturday of "an overwhelming abuse of power" and called for an investigation into accusations that Mr Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the presidential candidate's son.

Mr Biden's allegations prompted a swift rebuke from Mr Trump, who accuses the Democratic front runner of wrongdoing in Ukraine during his time under former president Barack Obama.

The back-and-forth recriminations stem from a Washington Post report stating a whistle-blower complaint had been filed over Mr Trump's communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and a "promise" allegedly made by the US leader.

Mr Trump allegedly pressured Mr Zelensky to investigate possible corruption involving Mr Biden and his son Hunter, who had worked with a Ukrainian natural gas company while his father was vice-president.

Mr Trump has urged media to "look into" Mr Biden's comments in early 2016 when he said the Obama administration would freeze US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in US loan guarantees unless Kiev fire its top prosecutor, who was looking into the gas company.

Mr Biden told reporters in Iowa: "This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power, to get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the US and ask about me. I know what I am up against, a serial abuser. If he sees any threat to his staying in power, he'll do whatever he has to do. But this crosses the line."

Mr Biden had on Friday demanded Mr Trump release the transcript of a July 25 call with Mr Zelensky while saying reports that Mr Trump sought to coerce his Ukrainian counterpart, if true, amounted to "clear-cut corruption".


Mr Trump slammed the allegations as "ridiculous", and on Saturday accused Mr Biden on Twitter of having demanded, during his time as vice-president, "that the Ukrainian government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son".

He also accused news outlets of fabricating "a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new president of Ukraine. Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden's demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster".

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko denied that there was any pressure from Mr Trump in an interview on television station Hromadske.

"I know what they were talking about and I think there was no pressure," he said.

"It was a long and friendly discussion, and it dealt with many questions that in many cases needed serious answers."

On Saturday, Mr Trump posted a video montage of media reports, which included a clip of Mr Biden saying he had asked the prosecutor be dismissed.

Mr Biden has said the call had nothing to do with his son.

"I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings. Everybody looked at it and said there is nothing there."

"Trump is doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum and using abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me," said Mr Biden, who is leading Mr Trump in most polls.- AFP