The Trump administration is being urged to release Vice President Joe Biden’s phone call transcripts with officials in Ukraine. The call for transparency was initiated by Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Cruz made the call during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, where he said he believes the administration did the right thing by cooperating with the probe and “wisely” releasing the transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The phone call became a subject of contention after an anonymous “whistleblower” alleged that the President “pressured” Ukraine to investigate his competitor and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump and Zelensky have denied the claims.
The transcript confirmed Trump’s defense that it was not out of the ordinary and broke no law. President Bill Clinton had signed a bill in 1999 that gave any sitting U.S. President the authority to personally initiate investigative cooperation between the two nations.
After Trump earlier this month called for China to investigate Biden and his son, Cruz told host Margaret Brennan he now urges the same be done with Biden’s phone call transcripts so the public can make up their own minds.
He explained that it could be a good move for Biden, as by releasing the president’s phone records, the administration has been able to show that “a lot” of allegations raised by House Democrats “was not in fact backed up by the transcript.”
Cruz wants Joe and Hunter Biden to face same scrutiny
Cruz suggested that Joe Biden face the same rules followed by House Democrats who are investigating whether Trump abused his power by asking Zelensky investigate Biden and Hunter. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, saying that his request for Ukraine’s assistance to look into Biden’s dealings was intended to investigate alleged corruption, not to look for information on a political opponent.
“I think actually the administration should do the exact same thing for Joe Biden,” Cruz said. “That it should release the transcripts of Joe Biden’s conversations with Ukraine.
“Use the same standard for President Trump and Joe Biden and let the American people read the transcripts and decide.”
Trump Calls for Investigation into the Bidens
When asked whether Ukraine should probe the Bidens, Trump said: “I would think if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.
“And by the way, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened with China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
“I’m sure that President Xi does not like being under that kind of scrutiny where billions of dollars is taken out of his country by a guy that just got kicked out of the Navy. He got kicked out of the Navy, all of a sudden he’s getting billions of dollars.
“You know what they call that? They call that a payoff,” Trump said.
While he was still vice president, Joe Biden had Hunter Biden accompany him on an official trip to China in 2013. Months earlier, Hunter Biden joined the board of a Chinese investment fund, BHR Partners, which he was still involved with as of June.
During the trip, Hunter Biden helped set up a meeting between a Chinese tycoon, who was also his business partner, and his father.
Biden was an unpaid board member at the time and took an equity stake after his father left the White House.
Lawmakers identified Hunter Biden as having a potential conflict of interest during a congressional inquiry into the purchase of a U.S. maker of anti-vibration technologies, according to a letter sent in August.
Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine as a paid board member of the energy company Burisma has also been highlighted by some, including Trump. Joe Biden admitted last year that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine in 2016 unless the country ousted a prosecutor who was probing Burisma. A Ukrainian prosecutor said on Oct. 4 that his office is reviewing that case.
Hunter Biden announced Oct. 13 he plans to step down from the board of directors of BHR on or before Oct. 31, and committed to not serve on the boards or work for any foreign companies if his father is elected president in 2020.