Schiff: Trump Now Trying To Use Ukraine To Smear Biden In 2020 Election

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In an interview Sunday with ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff blasted an aborted effort by the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son for potential conflicts of interest related to Biden's son's business in Ukraine.

The New York Times reported last week that while Vice President Biden threatened to withhold U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine if it's leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, his son Hunter was a member of the board of a Ukrainian energy company owned by an oligarch under investigation by the same state prosecutor.





Schiff said Giuliani's stated plan to "get the help of another foreign government in a presidential election" was "shocking."

About the underlying issue, Schiff said Ukraine "had an endemic corruption problem that Joe Biden was trying to address. So going after his son is just a method of going after someone the president believes is his most formidable opponent."

"There's no evidence nor has there ever been any evidence that he was doing anything but trying to get the Ukraine government to crack down on corruption," Schiff also said.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We also saw an effort this week by Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, to get the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden for his diplomacy in the Ukraine while his son was serving on the board of the largest natural gas producer there. And the president told Politico on Friday it would be appropriate for him to discuss a probe of Biden with the attorney general. Is it appropriate?

SCHIFF: Of course it's not appropriate and what is so shocking to me, I served for many years on a democracy commission in the Congress where we would partner with parliaments in emerging countries, emerging democracies and we would always say when you win an election you don't seek to jail the losing side. And here the president of the United States is saying it's perfectly OK for him -- and he has said this before -- to go to the attorney general and get them to open an investigation of his rivals. And sadly, this attorney general has turned out to be so political and partisan and so without -- frankly without integrity, he just might do it.

And you know, that does add to the sense of crisis that these democratic norms are being broken down every day. The fact that we're not even done with this investigation of the last foreign interference in our election and Giuliani, apparently with the president's -- at least initially -- knowledge and blessing, was going to get the help of another foreign government in a presidential election. You know, it -- it tells me that they not only think this -- there's nothing wrong with this. If that's true, there's something wrong with them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the underlying issue, though? There's no public evidence that the vice president -- former vice president took any inappropriate action to help his son, but was it right for Hunter Biden to take a job like that in Ukraine while his father was engaged in diplomacy there?

SCHIFF: I don't know the circumstances in which he took the job but I can say this vis-à-vis Joe Biden, there's no evidence nor has there ever been any evidence that he was doing anything but trying to get the Ukraine government to crack down on corruption. Now we’re providing generous support to Ukraine, we’re providing defensive weapons to Ukraine, we want Ukraine to be successful in its conflict with Russia. But part of that is happening in a government that the people of Ukraine are willing to fight for and protect.

And they’ve had an endemic corruption problem. That’s what Joe Biden was trying to address. So going after his son is just a method of going after someone the president believes is his most formidable opponent.

So yes, let the president go after him, but don’t seek the help of a foreign government in your election. And, you know, if this isn’t criminal and Bob Mueller said he could prove all the ailments of a crime, then maybe we need to change the ailments of that crime because we cannot make this the new norm that if you can’t win an election on your own, it’s fine to seek help from a foreign power.

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