Biden Calls for Trump Impeachment

Former vice president expressed support for full impeachment. He had previously backed a congressional inquiry.

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday called for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, blistering Mr. as a threat to American democracy and accusing him of “shooting holes in the Constitution.” Escalating his language in an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about his actions with Ukraine, Mr. Biden set aside months of restraint to demand Congress move against the president. “To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” the former vice president told supporters here, accusing Mr. Trump of having “betrayed this nation.” Mr. Biden even linked Mr. Trump’s false claims to the so-called Big Lie idea promulgated by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. “You say it long enough, often enough, people may believe it,” he said, invoking Goebbels by name. While Mr. Biden stopped short of calling for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, his new aggressiveness marked an acknowledgment that he must do more to both confront a president who is attacking him daily and to halt his slide in the polls in the Democratic primary. The former vice president has openly wrestled with how forceful to be with Mr. Trump, lamenting last week that the president wants to drag opponents into “a mud fight.” But Mr. Biden is increasingly sharpening his rhetoric under pressure from allies to embrace the head-to-head race. “We’re not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for president, period,” said Mr. Biden, who has fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a series of national and early nominating state polls. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.” The president apparently watched the speech, or was told of it, because even before it was over he noted on Twitter that Mr. Biden had called for his impeachment and claimed the Bidens had “ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars.”

“Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!” wrote Mr. Trump.

There is no evidence that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars from his overseas work or that his father intervened inappropriately with Ukraine or China, the other country Mr. Trump was alluding to in his tweet. The president has also urged China to look into the Bidens. Mr. Biden again denied that he did anything improper as vice president. He noted that his 2016 call to fire Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was part of United States government policy under President Barack Obama. It also reflected the wishes of a group of Republican senators at the time, who sought Mr. Shokin’s ouster because he was seen as unwilling to target corruption, Mr. Biden said. Last month, when House Democrats began moving toward an impeachment inquiry, he said they should only do so if Mr. Trump did not cooperate with their investigation. Then last week he said he would let Congress “do its job on impeachment.” And at a later event on Wednesday, in Manchester, N.H., he nodded to his longstanding discomfort with impeachment, calling it “a God-awful thing for a nation to go through.”