Joe Biden said for the first time Wednesday that President Donald Trump should be impeached for abusing his powers in soliciting help for his own reelection, calling his actions "un-American."
The former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate said Trump was "shooting holes in the Constitution" by asking foreign governments to interfere in the 2020 election. In July, after putting a hold on crucial U.S. aid to Ukraine, Trump asked the nation's leader in a phone call for "a favor" -- investigations including one focused on Biden and his son Hunter.
House Democrats have begun an impeachment inquiry centered on the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
"Donald Trump will do anything to get reelected, including violating the most basic forms of democracy," Biden told a crowd in Rochester, N.H. "It's stunning, and it's dangerous.
"This is not hyperbole: It's a fact. No president in American history has even dared to engage in such unimaginable behavior. With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself," Biden said. "By obstructing justice and refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry, he's convicted himself -- in full view of the world and the American people. Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts."
Biden took Trump to task for what he described as attempts to enlist foreign countries to interfere with U.S. presidential elections -- first Russia in 2016, and now Ukraine and China in 2020.
"The ballot box is sacred ground in America," Biden said. "Last week, on the White House lawn, President Trump invited China to get engaged in deciding our election and who our nominee would be.
"It was the third foreign power -- that we know of -- that's he's asked in clear, unmistakable language, to interfere ... in the democratic proceedings of the United States of America," Biden said.
"It's wrong. It's un-American," he said, adding that abuse of power was "a defining characteristic of Trump's presidency."
During Trump's 30-minute call with Zelenskiy, he asked the new Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden, a front-runner in the race to oppose the president in 2020, and Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Ukrainian officials have said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.