Biden's foreign policy adviser: Trump has 'weaponized' the State Department

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer

Joe Biden’s longtime foreign policy adviser says President Trump’s use of the State Department in his calls for foreign leaders to investigate the former vice president and his son “fundamentally undermines our institutions of government.”

“The State Department has been weaponized in the service of the president’s political, personal political agenda,” Tony Blinken, who serves as foreign policy adviser to Biden and was deputy national security adviser and then deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, said in a new episode of the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”

Trump’s requests on a July 25 phone call for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden, while Trump withheld U.S. aid from Ukraine, are part of a whistleblower complaint that led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.

“That basically says that our foreign policy and our national security is for sale,” Blinken said. “And the price is doing the bidding, the political bidding, the personal political bidding of the president of the United States.”

Blinken said Trump has “put the foreign policy of our country and the national security of our country in the service of his reelection, not the national interest.”

Tony Blinken, foreign policy adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)

“It’s hard to think of anything more undermining of our national security,” Blinken said. “It says to other countries, ‘Hey, it’s open season.’ If I can go to whoever is the president of the United States and say, ‘I’ve got dirt on someone you don’t like, uh, what can I get for that?’ You can only imagine where that might go.”

He also dismissed Trump’s evidence-free claims that Biden acted corruptly in pressuring Ukraine to remove its prosecutor while his son was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

“The president of the United States is throwing up as much dirt, discredited dirt, that he can find and hoping that something sticks,” Blinken said. “People hear allegations, they hear corruption. I’m not gonna play that game.”

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed a report that he was among those who listened in on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky.

Blinken said it would not be unusual for Pompeo to listen in.

“The issue, though, is not, to me at least, necessarily his presence on the call,” Blinken said. “It’s hearing the president try to shake down the Ukrainians for discrediting political dirt on his leading political adversary. Why didn’t he say anything? Maybe he did. We just don’t know yet.”

_____

Read more from Yahoo News: