Pence Defends Trump’s Calls for Ukraine, China to Investigate Biden

October 3, 2019 Updated: October 3, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence is defending President Donald Trump’s calls for foreign governments to investigate one of Trump’s leading Democratic rivals.

And Pence is echoing Trump’s private and public urging of Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s family. Earlier Thursday, Trump also said China and Ukraine should investigate Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, for business dealings the latter conducted in the countries while his father was still in office.

Pence told reporters at an event on Oct. 3 in Arizona that he thinks “the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration.”

Trump’s attempts to get probes started into Biden was the subject of a complaint filed against him by a person who has not been identified.

That complaint led to an impeachment inquiry by the Democratic-controlled House.

Both the transcript of a call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the complaint have been released to the public.

zelensky speaks about phone call
President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Joe bidne is welcomed by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko
Then-Vice President Joe Biden upon his arrival for a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Kyiv on Jan. 16, 2017. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump has sought to implicate Biden and his son Hunter in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv. Biden bragged last year that he got a prosecutor ousted. That prosecutor was probing Burisma at the time.

Biden has insisted everything he did regarding Ukraine was transparent and accused Trump of smearing him and his family. Several aspects of Biden’s story have clashed with others, including denying talking to his son about Burisma when his son earlier said he spoke to his father once about the business.

Trump told reporters earlier Thursday that Hunter Biden took “billions of dollars” out of China before noting the younger Biden was “kicked out of the Navy” for drug use.

“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,” he said.

Turning to Hunter Biden’s five years with Burisma, Trump added: “He had no knowledge of energy, didn’t know the first thing about it, all of a sudden he’s getting $50,000 a month plus a lot of other things.”

“And they got rid of a prosecutor who was a very tough prosecutor, they got rid of him,” Trump added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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