Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) said Friday that he would not comply with a Senate subpoena to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial.
“What are you going to cover?” Biden said when asked about a subpoena in an interview with the Des Moines Register’s executive editor Carol Hunter. “You guys are going to cover for three weeks anything that I said. And (Trump’s) going to get away. You guys buy into it all the time. Not a joke.”
He went on to say it would be part of Trump’s tactic to “take the focus off” himself.
“Think what it’s about. It’s all about what he does all the time, his entire career. Take the focus off,” Biden continued. “This guy violated the Constitution. He said it in the driveway of the White House. He acknowledged he asked for help.”
The comments come as the Senate’s timeline for impeachment and witness strategy remains up in the air.
Lawmakers left the Capitol for their holiday recess without solid plans for a trial after House Democrats decided to delay transmitting the articles to the Senate.
The House voted before the holidays to impeach Trump, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Under Senate rules, an impeachment trial starts the day after the House transmits the articles to the chamber, unless that day is a Sunday; however, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined to say when the articles would be handed over to the Senate, citing concerns that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would not hold a “fair” trial. Her announcement came after a series of behind-the-scenes negotiations on a trial.
McConnell has indicated that he and Republican leadership will cooperate with the White House on the trial. He has also expressed an unwillingness to include witness testimony, which Democrats have demanded.
Biden is indirectly involved with impeachment, as the House inquiry was launched after a whistleblower report showed Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump requested information on the Biden family after Joe Biden bragged about pushing for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was looking into Burisma, a Ukrainian company with ties to Hunter Biden.
“I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.” transcript of Biden speaking on 1/23/18 at the Council on Foreign Relations
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