Democrats’ rhetoric on impeaching President Trump is rising following reports he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
Impeachment "could be the only remedy" if the reports prove true, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday.
"[I] want the country to understand this is the last resort,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The president is pushing us down this road.”
The congressman also said he’s demanded a copy of an August whistleblower complaint accusing Trump of asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who worked for a Ukrainian energy company, during a July 25 phone call.
Trump on Sunday admitted he’d brought up the Bidens with Zelensky.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place,” Trump told reporters. “[It] 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.”
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to give the House Intelligence Committee a copy of the whistleblower complaint. Schiff says the information merits “a thorough investigation.”
Trump has strongly denied wrongdoing, tweeting a statement from conservative author Peter Schweizer on Sunday: "The real story involves Hunter Biden going around the world and collecting large payments from foreign governments and foreign oligarchs.”
Leading liberals have taken things further than Schiff.
“At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior — it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens, Bronx) tweeted early Sunday.
“What is Congress waiting for? This is crazy. Unless we take action now, we will see the end of American democracy,” Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke tweeted late Saturday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has resisted calls to impeach Trump throughout his administration. On Sunday, she issued a statement saying: “If the administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the president, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.”
Top White House officials went on the defensive Sunday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said allegations that Trump was looking for dirt on his presidential rival’s family are speculation.
“I think things are being implied that just don’t exist,” he said on “State of the Union.”
"I wasn't on the call but I have no reason to believe the president pressured ... a foreign leader. I think this is a lot being made up about one person's speculation," Mnuchin added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected calls to release a transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky.
"Those are private conversations between world leaders and it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so except in the most extreme circumstances," said Pompeo.
Trump said Sunday he would consider releasing the transcript, but contended foreign leaders don’t want such info to be made public so they can speak freely with him.
Multiple news outlets have reported that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden.
With News Wire Services