Vice President Mike Pence slammed the one-sided criticism of President Trump in the Ukraine controversy, calling out critics and the media for ignoring the allegations against Joe Biden.
The vice president condemned the cycle of knee-jerk reactions and finger-pointing which unfolds each time the “assume the worst media” runs with unsubstantiated reports on the president, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity that, in the current scandal, Trump is getting attacked for things that former Vice President Joe Biden actually “bragged” about.
(Video: YouTube/Fox News)
“Here we go again,” Pence said in a “Hannity” interview that aired Monday.
“The ‘assume the worst media’ takes one report, runs with it. Democrats on Capitol Hill immediately start to denounce the president before anybody has the facts,” he explained.
Pence found it “remarkable” that all the so-called facts the media has assumed about Trump in the controversy over his phone call in July with the leader of the Ukraine, Biden “admitted to on-camera” back in 2018.
The condemnation of Trump unfolded in the wake of a whistleblower complaint filed against the president alleging he made a “promise” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as he urged him to investigate Biden’s son Hunter who, since 2014 when his father was vice president, served on the board of a gas company in the nation.
Critics have relentlessly attacked Trump over the call and its alleged contents while ignoring the reported wrong-doing by Biden, who has denied ever speaking to his son about his business in Ukraine while also calling Trump’s actions an “overwhelming abuse of power.”
The president has asserted that nothing inappropriate occurred on the call to the Ukrainian president and that Biden’s “corruption” was at the heart of the issue.
Trump sets the record straight: Ukraine call was about Biden ‘corruption’ https://t.co/sTgFN0XaLZ
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 22, 2019
Pence echoed the remarks and explained the context of the president’s “congratulatory” call to the Ukrainian leader who won a “landslide” victory in his country’s election. At the time, the Trump administration was holding back military aid for Ukraine and the president spoke about his concerns with the newly elected leader, who ran on an anti-corruption platform.
“President Trump made it clear that we’ve got to see reforms, we’ve got to see honesty in government,” Pence told Hannity. “He mentioned Vice President Biden and his son in the context of us wanting to see honest government. That’s exactly what the American taxpayer would expect.”
Democrats have been clamoring for release of the transcript of Trump’s phone conversation with Zelensky, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning that a “whole new stage of investigation” could be coming as she called on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to act in the face of the administration’s blocking of Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from releasing the document.
Pence would not say whether he agreed that Trump should release the transcript but said the move would be “unprecedented” and would “undermine” any president’s ability to speak candidly with foreign leaders in the future.
Meanwhile, Biden admitted on camera last year that he strong-armed then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 when he was serving as vice president in the Obama administration. He told an audience how he threatened that the administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. aid if Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was not immediately fired. Shokin, at the time, was conducting a corruption probe of the natural gas company that employed Biden’s son.
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recounted at a Council on Foreign Relations event.
“Well, son of a b**ch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” he added.
Hannity asked Pence what “conceivable reason” a sitting vice president would have to threaten a foreign leader over a prosecutor, and then brag about it.
“He had a quid pro quo,” Pence replied, remarking about the hypocrisy of the mainstream media for focusing on Trump over actions which Biden himself was guilty of. “If people want to see a quid pro quo, they just need to watch the tape of Vice President Biden explaining that he was going to withhold over a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars.”
“The American people have a right to know what happened. They have a right to know what happened in 2016 and they have a right to know what the circumstances were around having a sitting vice president threaten to withhold American aid,” Pence said.
“The ironic thing is,” the vice president continued, “is that everything that our critics in the media are leveling at the president from this phone call, and leveling at our administration, everything that Democrats on Capitol Hill are running off and describing — Vice President Joe Biden bragged about — which was a quid-pro-quo — withholding American aid in exchange for a specific action.”
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