In a Wednesday tweet, Hillary Clinton officially backed impeachment against President Donald Trump, following allegations he pressured the Ukrainian President to investigate rival Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, during a July phone call.
Clinton called for the impeachment of her 2016 presidential rival in a tweet, saying “the president of the United States has betrayed our country.” She issued the call following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own calls within the Democratic Party for Trump’s impeachment.
The president of the United States has betrayed our country.
That’s not a political statement—it’s a harsh reality, and we must act.
He is a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free.
I support impeachment.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 25, 2019
Many Democrats have raised whistleblower allegations that, as a pressure tactic, Trump withheld $391 million in aid for Ukraine ahead of a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The allegations suggest the money was withheld to elicit a reaction from Zelensky to investigate Biden over allegations he also pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor investigating a company, Burisma Holdings, for which his son Hunter Biden worked for and whose board of directors Hunter sat.
Clinton’s tweet goes on to explain that the claim Trump betrayed the United States is “not a political statement,” but a reality that warrants a call for impeachment.
The appearance of political partisanship has been a concern for congressional Democrats who have deliberated impeachment on separate occasions. In March, Pelosi expressed the sentiment that impeaching Trump is “not worth it.”
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi said in March.
Since Pelosi’s call for impeachment, Trump has released a transcript of the call with the Ukrainian President.
Within the transcript, Trump did not appear to make a quid pro quo type request to Zelensky to exchange foreign aid for an investigation of Biden. No mention was made of the aid money during the phone call.
Trump did ask Zelensky to “find out what happened” with Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The request included looking into the prospect that the U.S. cybersecurity firm known as Crowdstrike housed a server in Ukraine that is a key piece of evidence to the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. elections. Russian interference is a matter that has been investigated for more than two years by both Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Congress.
Trump did later mention Biden and allegations that he pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma holdings.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that,” Trump said. “Whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
Zelensky, who ran on an anti-corruption platform and expressed a desire to “drain the swamp” in Ukraine earlier on in the call, voiced his support for looking into the fired prosecutor.
A copy of the whistleblower complaint, central to the impeachment calls, was made available to the public Thursday morning. The complaint, which is self-described as based on second-hand information, focuses primarily on the allegation that Trump tried to pressure Zelensky to take actions that would help Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
In a Wednesday joint appearance by both Zelensky and Trump, Zelensky said he was not pressured to begin an investigation of Biden.