Biden’s comments at a San Marino, CA fundraiser this afternoon came just hours after the release of a whistleblower complaint. An unnamed intelligence official accused Trump of trying to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating Biden and his son, Hunter, for conflicts of interest. Biden was Vice President when Hunter Biden was the director of a Ukrainian gas company that was once under investigation.
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“This isn’t about me,” Biden said, according to a pool reporter. “It’s never been about me. It’s a tactic that’s used by this president to try to hijack and election so we do not focus on the issues that matter in our lives.”
Biden, speaking to about 130 guests, read from the complaint and said that there was “not one shred of evidence” showing wrongdoing by he or his son. He cited a recent interview that a former Ukrainian prosecutor gave to the Washington Post that refuted Trump’s claims.
“There’s not been one single shred of evidence substantiating any accusation made,” Biden said.
The fundraiser was held at the home of Jules and Amy Buenabenta, with Joe Waz and Cynthia Telles among the co-hosts.
Jules Buenabenta is president of an equipment financing corporation. Waz is senior strategic adviser to Comcast Corporation, and Telles is founding director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence.
Earlier, Biden’s campaign reacted more fully to the release of the whistleblower complaint.
“Today we have confirmed that President Trump’s efforts to have a foreign country intervene in our domestic politics were not confined to a single call, but instead part of a larger, months-long campaign,” Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. “Vice President Biden couldn’t have been more right last night when he told Jimmy Kimmel that the events of yesterday were an “18 out of 10″ on the outlandish scale. But today is much worse than that.”
Bedingfield also pointed to reports of Trump’s outraged reaction today. At a private event in New York, the president reportedly suggested that the whistleblower and those who helped him were almost like spies and that they were committing an act of treason. He also called reporters “scum.” The Los Angeles Times published an audio recording of Trump’s comments, which were made at a private event in New York.
“The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little bit differently than we do now,” Trump is heard saying.
In her statement, Bedingfield added that “an hour after the report was made public, the Acting Director of National Intelligence called this report ‘urgent and important’ and ‘totally unprecedented. And now we know that President Trump’s response to all of this was to privately issue a thinly veiled threat this morning to execute the national security professionals who followed their oath to uphold the Constitution by bringing this to light.”
Biden’s current Los Angeles trip included two fundraisers Wednesday ahead of an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He will be back in town for an October 10 fundraiser at the home of Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos and his wife Ann, a marketing consultant.
UPDATE, 6:42 p.m. PT: Biden spoke later at a fundraising event at Pasadena City College. According to the pool, he mimicked Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president, saying in a jokey voice, “The guy who beat me 70 pollls in a row, I want you to conspire with the help of…” Then the crowd laughed.
“This ain’t your father’s Republican party,” Biden said. “There’s still a lot of decent men there, and women. But they’re being intimidated by a guy who will go after them like he tried to go after me.”
The event was hosted by Lena Kennedy, founder of the women’s empowerment group Women In Leadership Vital Voices.