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GOP calls on Biden to release his Ukraine calls

The Hill logo The Hill 9/24/2019 Tal Axelrod
a man wearing a suit and tie: GOP calls on Biden to release his Ukraine calls © The Hill GOP calls on Biden to release his Ukraine calls

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is calling on Joe Biden to release transcripts of his calls with leaders from Ukraine and China during his time serving as vice president.

The RNC's push on Tuesday comes after Biden, who is running for president, called for Congress to launch a formal impeachment investigation into President Trump if he does not cooperate with requests from lawmakers for information regarding his dealings with Ukraine and other investigations.

"Once again, Joe Biden has shown he is just as extreme as the rest of the 2020 Democrats who are desperate to bring President Trump down," RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement.

"Now that the President has authorized the release of the transcript of his call with [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky, we call on Biden to release the transcripts of his calls as Vice President with Ukrainian and Chinese leaders while his son was conducting shady business deals in these countries," she added.

The RNC chairwoman was referencing Trump's tweets earlier Tuesday afternoon in which he said he had authorized the release of a transcript from his late-July call with Zelensky, a conversation that has been the focus of mounting scrutiny in recent days.

Trump maintained that the transcript will show a "very friendly and totally appropriate call" with the foreign leader.

The president has denied that any quid pro quo was involved in the call relating to a possible investigation into Biden and military aid that was approved for Ukraine.

Republicans have long questioned Biden's push as vice president in 2016 for Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch and whose board members included Biden's son Hunter Biden.

No evidence has emerged that Joe Biden was acting to protect his son, and Joe Biden and his campaign have pushed back in recent days, dismissing such allegations as baseless.

Biden's presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill about the RNC's statement Tuesday.

McDaniel's statement comes as the RNC and White House play defense amid rising scrutiny regarding Trump's July conversation with Zelensky.

Trump on Monday defended bringing up the topic of corruption in conversations with foreign leaders while facing blowback over reports he pressured Ukraine's leader to investigate the former vice president.

Further reports Monday that the president held up millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine ahead of his conversation with the country's leader have led to snowballing calls for Trump's impeachment among House Democrats.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has long opposed launching a formal impeachment investigation, is expected to declare her support for the probe later Tuesday afternoon.

Though Biden's lead in the Democratic presidential primary field has narrowed recently, with some state polls showing him falling behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Republicans still view the former vice president as a strong potential challenger to Trump's 2020 reelection bid.

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