Bi­den: For­mer vice pres­i­dent joins calls for Trump to be im­peached.

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Jon­athan Martin Jon­athan Martin is a New York Times writer.

ROCHESTER, N.H. — For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den on Wed­nes­day called for Pres­i­dent Trump’s im­peach­ment for the first time, blis­ter­ing Trump as a threat to Amer­i­can democ­racy and ac­cus­ing him of “shoot­ing holes in the Constituti­on.”

Es­ca­lat­ing his lan­guage in an ef­fort to re­but Trump’s un­founded claims about his ac­tions with Ukraine, Bi­den set aside months of re­straint to de­mand Congress move against the pres­i­dent.

“To pre­serve our Constituti­on, our democ­racy, our ba­sic in­tegrity, he should be im­peached,” the for­mer vice pres­i­dent told sup­port­ers in Rochester, ac­cus­ing Trump of hav­ing “be­trayed this na­tion.”

Bi­den linked Trump’s false claims to the so­called Big Lie idea pro­mul­gated by the Nazi pro­pa­ganda min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels.

“You say it long enough, of­ten enough, peo­ple may be­lieve it,” he said, in­vok­ing Goebbels by name.

While Bi­den stopped short of call­ing for Trump’s re­moval from of­fice, his new ag­gres­sive­ness marked an ac­knowl­edg­ment that he must do more to both con­front a pres­i­dent who is at­tack­ing him daily and to halt his slide in the polls in the Demo­cratic pri­mary.

Trump is fac­ing an im­peach­ment in­quiry in the House be­cause of his re­quest to the Ukrainian govern­ment that it look into what Bi­den did with the coun­try when his son, Hunter Bi­den, was work­ing for a gas com­pany there. Bi­den again de­nied that he did any­thing im­proper as vice pres­i­dent. And he ac­cused Trump, who has ac­cused Bi­den of cor­rup­tion and whose cam­paign is air­ing ads re­peat­ing the same claim, of act­ing en­tirely out of a de­sire to dam­age his can­di­dacy.

“We’re not go­ing to let Don­ald Trump pick the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent, pe­riod,” said Bi­den, who has fallen be­hind Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts in a se­ries of na­tional and early nom­i­nat­ing state polls. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.”

The pres­i­dent ap­par­ently watched the speech, or was told of it, be­cause even be­fore it was over he noted on Twit­ter that Bi­den had called for his im­peach­ment and claimed the Bi­dens had “ripped off at least two coun­tries for mil­lions of dol­lars.”

“Joe’s Fail­ing Cam­paign gave him no other choice!” wrote Trump.

Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Joe Bi­den likens Pres­i­dent Trump to Nazi pro­pa­ganda min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels in a speech harshly con­demn­ing the pres­i­dent in Rochester, N.H.

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