Former Vice President Joe Biden, in his most direct statement yet on the topic, called on President Trump to comply with all of Congress’ outstanding, lawful requests for information related to his phone call with Ukraine’s president and cautioned that if Trump does not, Congress has no choice but to impeach.
Interested in Donald Trump?
Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
If “the president does not comply with such a request to the Congress, he continues to obstruct congress and flaunt the law. Donald Trump will leave congress in my view no choice but to initiate impeachment,” Biden told reporters Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden told the gathering that he can “take the political attacks” but cautioned that “if we allow a president to get away with shredding the U.S constitution, that will last forever.”
(MORE: Ukraine’s 2014 revolution to Trump’s push for a Ukrainian probe of Biden: A timeline)
Impeachment, Biden said “would be a tragedy, but a tragedy of his own making.”
Trump promised to release on Wednesday an unredacted transcript of his phone call with Ukraine’s president that has triggered a new Democratic push for impeachment, just hours before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to make a major announcement on the issue.
Democratic 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the crowd at the New Hampshire Democratic Party state convention in Manchester, New Hampshire, Sept. 7, 2019.
The former vice president has hedged previously on the issue, never explicitly joining calls to remove Trump.
The fast-moving developments come amid questions about whether Trump had made aid to Ukraine contingent on Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky agreeing to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump, who had said previously he was concerned about sending aid to Ukraine because of corruption he alleged there, gave a new explanation Tuesday saying he ordered the aid frozen – before the call – because he was unhappy with how much European countries were contributing to Ukraine.
(MORE: From a controversial phone call to impeachment calls: A Trump whistleblower timeline)
Over the past 24 hours, a rapid succession of Democrats have embraced impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus were on the brink of going forward Tuesday, with at least 160 Democrats – more than two-thirds of the caucus – now publicly supporting impeaching President Trump.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Newscom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walks with her Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hamill past the Sir Winston Churchill bust as she exits the Capitol on Sept. 24, 2019.
(MORE: Pelosi, Democrats on brink of moving forward on Trump impeachment)
Supporters are seeking an impeachment inquiry since the recent whistleblower complaint about President Trump’s phone call with the Ukranian president and reports he pressured the foreign leader to investigate the Democratic rival, something Trump denies although he’s said they discussed it. Those supporting impeachment include several prominent committee chairs and freshman Democrats from formerly GOP-held congressional districts that Pelosi was trying to shield from impeachment pressure if it would make them vulnerable when facing reelection.
Pelosi told House Democrats behind closed doors on Tuesday that she would announce she was moving forward with a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, according to a source in the room. Another source in the room told ABC News that the effort would move expeditiously.
(MORE: How the impeachment process works)
So far, 11 Democrats presidential candidates have explicitly called for impeachment, a list which includes: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, a motivational speaker and billionaire Tom Steyer.
Warren was one of the first to call for impeachment.
South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg shifted his position Monday, going further by saying he supports “the House on taking on impeachment proceedings.