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Democratic candidate Joe Biden dropped into Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday to speak about the upcoming presidential election as well as the story-of-the-moment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
Reacting to the impeachment inquiry, Biden said it’d be difficult to not see that Trump committed “an impeachable offense and a violation of constitutional responsibility.”
The probe centers around whether Trump connected with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to undermine Biden and help his own re-election. Non-verbatim transcripts of the call reveal Trump asking Zelensky to look into Biden and his son, Hunter, who was the director of a Ukrainian gas company when his father served as vice president. Pelosi has called such actions a “betrayal of his oath of office.” She further said that the action also betrayed national security and the integrity of the election system.
Earlier this week, Biden tweeted, “Desperate Donald Trump knows that I can beat him, so now he’s enlisting the help of a foreign government — once again. It’s an abuse of power and violates every basic norm of the presidency. We cannot give him four more years in the White House.”
When asked by the late-night host “how does this rank as far as on the outlandish scale for you, the last 48 hours watching this transpire,” Biden responded “18 out of 10.”
Biden went in on details of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, including the president’s insistence that the Ukrainian president speak to his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr regarding investigating Biden and his son.
“The idea that someone would call a head of a foreign state, ahead of time withhold significant military aid that’s badly needed in order to prevent the Russian separatists who are in Ukraine, from taking over Ukraine, and then ask basically, ‘Can you cooperate with Rudy Giuliani? He’s coming over,'” Biden said. “The thing I learned, the thing we all learned recently, in that statement, that 2,000-word statement released, was talked about getting the Justice Department engaged in this. It’s such a blatant abuse of power that I don’t think it can stand.”
Speaking on next steps for the impeachment inquiry, the former vice president said he feels “confident in the ability of the House and Senate to deal with this.”
As for his own next steps, Biden shared, “My job is to just out and flat beat him. What I can’t let happen, I can’t let this distract me in a way that takes me away from the issues that really are the reason why I’m running.”
Kimmel asked whether Biden’s desire to run for president was strengthened due to Trump being in office. “If a decent man like Jeb Bush had won the Republican nomination, would you feel as motivated to run?”
“I guess the honest answer is no. I hadn’t planned on running again,” Biden shared.
“When I saw those folks in Charlottesville coming out of the fields carrying torches, contorted faces and veins bulging shouting the same anti-Semitic bile that was shouted in the streets of Nuremberg and Berlin and throughout Germany in the ’30s, accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan, and when the president was asked when a young woman was killed, asked to respond he said, ‘Well there were very fine people in both groups.’ No president has ever ever said anything like that, with the possible exception of Andrew Jackson before the Civil War. And that’s when I decided. I’ve spent my whole life doing this. How can I remain silent?”
Watch the full interview below.
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