Booker rushes to Biden’s defense as Trump seeks to deflect impeachment

Updated Sep 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who has clashed with former Vice President Joe Biden on the 2020 presidential campaign trail, rushed to his defense Sunday.

“Joe Biden is a statesman. He is truly an honorable man," Booker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I would be standing firmly in defense of Joe Biden throughout this process because this is in no way can besmirch his character, his honor and his incredible service to this country over decades.”

During the campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Booker has lashed out at Biden over criminal justice issues. Biden returned the favor, questioning Booker’s stewardship of the Newark police department when he was mayor.

The House has begun impeachment proceedings against Trump, who held up congressionally approved aid to Ukraine and then told its president in a phone call that he wanted him to investigate Biden and his son Hunter.

That phone call was disclosed in a whistleblower complaint filed with the inspector general for the intelligence community, which the acting director of intelligence initially withheld from Congress in apparent violation of federal law.

Hunter Biden landed a plum position on the board of Ukranian’s largest private gas company, Burisma. As vice president, Joe Biden helped push Ukrainian leaders to fire their top prosecutor Viktor Shokin because he refused to crack down on rampant corruption in the country, and used U.S. aid as leverage to force action. Shokin was not investigating Burisma at the time, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact.

Trump, though, has falsely accused Biden of pressuring Ukraine on behalf of his son and his campaign is running ads amplifying those charges. He also accused Biden and his son with “walking away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and then millions of dollars from China," even as the Washington Post’s fact checker said that statement was untrue.

“Joe Biden is a statesman,” Booker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He is truly an honorable man. I would be standing firmly in defense of Joe Biden throughout this process because this is in no way can besmirch his character, his honor, and his incredible service to this country over decades.”

During the campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Booker has lashed out at Biden over criminal justice issues. Biden returned the favor, questioning Booker’s stewardship of the Newark Police Department when he was mayor.

The House has begun impeachment proceedings against Trump, who held up congressionally approved aid to Ukraine and then told its president in a phone call that he wanted him to investigate Biden and his son Hunter.

That phone call was disclosed in a whistleblower complaint filed with the inspector general for the intelligence community, which the acting director of intelligence initially withheld from Congress in apparent violation of federal law.

Hunter Biden landed a plum position on the board of Ukranian’s largest private gas company, Burisma. As vice president, Joe Biden helped push Ukrainian leaders to fire their top prosecutor Viktor Shokin because he refused to crack down on rampant corruption in the country, and used U.S. aid as leverage to force action. Shokin was not investigating Burisma at the time, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact.

Trump, though, has falsely accused Biden of pressuring Ukraine on behalf of his son and his campaign is running ads amplifying those charges. He also accused Biden and his son with “walking away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and then millions of dollars from China,” even as the Washington Post’s fact checker said that statement was untrue.

“I’m offended by the Republicans trying to shift the attention and what is Trump’s scandal,” Booker said. “This is a Trump scandal and potential violation of office. It should in no way affect the vice president in his pursuit of the nomination.”

Booker, who long has called for Trump’s impeached, said Trump appeared to be willing to hold up needed aid for political purposes.

“That is absolutely unacceptable,” Booker said. “If this is true, that is an impeachable offense. History will look back on what did we do when a president was willing to trash the constitution, act less like a leader of the free world and more like a dictator or a thug in using American power to pursue his own personal gain.”

Still, Booker questioned the practice of lawmakers leaving Congress for lobbying jobs and children of top officials taking advantage of their connections, whether it be Hunter Biden or Trump’s children, who have furthered their business interests while their father occupies the White House.

“Yes, I have problems with the way things happen,” Booker said. “I have problems with Congresspeople coming in and holding their office and walking right out the door and going to work for lobbying firms. I just don’t think that children of presidents, vice presidents during administration should be out there doing that.”

Booker’s appearance on CNN came a day before his self-imposed deadline to raise $1.7 million by the end of September in order to be able to adequately compete for the presidential nomination.

He was less than $10,000 short as of Sunday evening and already had met the threshold of 165,000 individual donors needed to qualify for the November presidential debate.

“I’m in this to win it,” Booker said on CNN. “I’m not going to be in this primary unless I have a viable path to victory.”

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