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Biden To Call For Trump's Impeachment Unless He Complies With Congress' Requests

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to call for President Trump's impeachment unless the White House complies "with all of Congress' outstanding, lawful requests for information — in the Ukraine matter, and in the other investigations," according to a campaign aide.

Biden is expected to speak about the Ukraine controversy on Tuesday in Wilmington, Del.

The support for impeachment is a shift for Biden. Unlike most of the 2020 presidential field, he had resisted calling for it. Earlier this year, Biden said impeachment proceedings would be a "gigantic distraction."

Biden is a particularly important piece of this puzzle, as he has been at the center of Trump's tactic to try and deflect attention from the controversy.

Without evidence and furthering a conspiracy theory populated in conservative circles, Trump has accused Biden of strong-arming Ukraine with funding in order to help his son, Hunter, who was serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

While many point to Hunter Biden as cashing in on the Biden name, Joe Biden was carrying out Obama administration policy in calling for a prosecutor to be removed from office, who Western alliance countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank saw as corrupt. So Biden was hardly freelancing.

The allegations of corruption against the gas company, Burisma, pre-dated Hunter Biden joining its board. In fact, Burisma brought Hunter Biden on board in an effort to look like it was cleaning up its act.

What's more, the fired prosecutor's investigation into Burisma had been completed before Biden, acting on behalf of the Obama administration, asked for him to be removed. And many in Ukraine credit Joe Biden with helping in the effort to clean up corruption in the country.

While Hunter Biden's involvement in the gas company threatens to continue to be a headache for Biden and his campaign, the controversy surrounding Trump has actually had the effect of insulating Biden, at least for now, in the Democratic primary.

For months, Biden, who has been leading in the polls, had been facing withering criticism from other Democratic candidates because of his more moderate policies and restorative vision for the country. But Democratic candidates haven't been able to criticize him for days now. The saga could end up hardening some of his support and increasing sympathy for him among Democratic primary voters.

A growing number of House Democrats, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and seven freshmen are throwing their support behind an impeachment inquiry.
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.