US-NEWS-BIDEN-TRUMP-LA

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential hopeful, speaks with constituents at Dulans On Crenshaw Soul Food Restaurant, in Los Angeles on July 18, 2019. Biden on Wednesday came out in favor of Trump's impeachment for the first time. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Former Vice President Joe Biden called for President Donald Trump’s removal from office for the first time Wednesday.

“Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts,” Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, said during a campaign event in Rochester, N.H. “He should be impeached.”

Biden’s remarks come ahead of Tuesday’s fourth Democratic presidential debate, at which Trump’s potential impeachment is expected to loom large, with all 12 candidates on stage now voicing support for it.

Biden had previously expressed lukewarm support for a formal impeachment inquiry, but his comments Wednesday marked the first time he’s come out in favor of a full-blown impeachment.

Trump was quick to hit back in a fact-challenged tweet.

“So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment – and I did nothing wrong,” Trump posted less than five minutes after Biden’s comments. “Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!”

The rapidly developing House impeachment probe was sparked last month amid revelations that Trump and his allies tried to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden over unsubstantiated claims that he used his vice presidency pulpit to protect his son from being charged with corruption crimes in the eastern European country.

Since the impeachment investigation kicked off, Trump has publicly suggested China should also investigate the Bidens over similarly dubious claims of corruption.

There’s no evidence to support Trump’s allegations about Biden, who’s one of the front-runners in the 2020 Democratic race.

The anonymous CIA whistleblower who sounded the alarm on Trump’s infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote in a complaint that the president’s pressure campaign amounted to an illegal attempt to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election.

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