WASHINGTON — Hours after appearing to confirm that he had discussed former vice president Joe Biden and his son with Ukraine’s president in an exchange at the center of a whistleblower complaint, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday night to insist again that he had done nothing wrong on a “nice” call with the foreign leader and to slam his Democratic rival.
The tweets came after a full day of attacks against the Democratic presidential nominee by Trump administration officials and allies who demanded investigations of Biden and his son Hunter despite a lack of evidence of wrongdoing, as The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez reported.
Trump repeated those claims on Sunday night, again without any evidence, writing, “Sleepy Joe Biden, on the other hand, forced a tough prosecutor out from investigating his son’s company by threat of not giving big dollars to Ukraine.”
“That’s the real story!” Trump added.
The Post’s Fact Checker has previously found no merit to allegations that Joe Biden used the threat of withholding loans to force out a prosecutor who had investigated a natural gas company that hired Hunter Biden.
Trump’s latest claims come as Democratic calls for impeachment intensify over an extraordinary whistleblower complaint that was first reported by The Post last week. The complaint reportedly alleged that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Biden and his son during a July 25 phone conversation.
Although the intelligence community’s inspector general found the complaint credible and urgent enough to disclose to congressional committees, Trump has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong and his administration has refused to share details of the complaint with Congress.
The president sounded a similar note on Sunday night, while apparently referencing a Wall Street Journal report that he had asked Zelensky eight times to investigate the former vice president.
“Now the Fake News Media says I ‘pressured the Ukrainian President at least 8 times during my telephone call with him,’” Trump tweeted. “This supposedly comes from a so-called ‘whistleblower’ who they say doesn’t even have a first hand account of what was said. More Democrat/Crooked Media con . . .”
Trump then apparently referenced a Saturday story in which Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told a local television station that “I think there was no pressure” from Trump on the call with Zelensky, as Reuters reported. (Zelensky has yet to comment on the case.)
“Breaking News: The Ukrainian Government just said they weren’t pressured at all during the ‘nice’ call,” Trump tweeted.
Earlier Sunday, though, the president appeared to confirm with reporters outside the White House that he had brought up Biden and his son with Zelensky on the call.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” Trump said on Sunday morning. “And Ukraine, Ukraine’s got a lot of problems.”
Democrats say asking Ukraine to find damaging information on a potential 2020 rival could amount to another attempt to involve a foreign power in American elections. Intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump, a claim the president denies.
The story is likely to dominate Trump’s week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he arrived on Sunday — and where he’s scheduled to meet Zelensky on Wednesday.