Trump Says It’d Be ‘Appropriate’ to Speak to Barr About Biden

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said it would be “an appropriate thing” to speak to Attorney General William Barr about allegations involving Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son over the son’s business interests in Ukraine.

“Certainly it is a very big issue and we’ll see what happens,” the president said in an interview with Politico that was published on Friday night.

“Certainly, it would be an appropriate thing to speak about. But I have not done that as of yet,” Trump told Politico.

Trump Says It’d Be ‘Appropriate’ to Speak to Barr About Biden

It would be highly unusual for a president to request an investigation into a political opponent. According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Trump, met with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Oval Office in October 2017 and “asked him to ‘take [a] look’ at investigating” Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival in 2016.

Some of Trump’s allies, including Rudy Giuliani, have suggested that Biden, when he was vice president, intervened in Ukrainian politics on behalf of his son Hunter Biden. Giuliani has called for an investigation.

Yet a former Ukrainian official, and documents have cast doubt on the accusations.

The official described to Bloomberg details about the country’s political dynamic in the run-up to early 2016 when Biden threatened to hold up American funding to Ukraine unless it cracked down on corruption.

Biden’s chief demand was the ouster of a top Ukrainian prosecutor who he said had been ineffective. The episode has come under the spotlight in the last week because at one point, the prosecutor had been investigating a natural gas company where Hunter Biden sat on the board and received substantial compensation.

Trump Says It’d Be ‘Appropriate’ to Speak to Barr About Biden

Yet at the time the elder Biden made the ultimatum, the investigation into the company -- Burisma Holdings, owned by Mykola Zlochevsky -- had been long dormant, according to the former official, Vitaliy Kasko.

“There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky,” Kasko said in an interview. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”

Giuliani, in an interview with Fox News on Friday night, said he would not be going to Ukraine next week, as had been reported.

The Biden campaign on Friday night declined to comment on Trump’s remarks to Politico. Ronald Klain, a former Biden aide in the Obama administration, said on Twitter, “If he can do this to @JoeBiden, he can do this to any other Democrat.”

Asked elsewhere in the Politico interview if he was disturbed that North Korea had fired short-range missiles, Trump said: “They’re short-range and I don’t consider that a breach of trust at all. And, you know, at some point I may. But at this point no.” Trump added that the missiles were “very standard stuff. Very standard.”

The White House had no immediate comment on the Politico interview.

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