Biden calls for Democrats to keep Trump impeachment trial short

World Sunday 31/January/2021 16:48 PM
By: Times News Service
Biden calls for Democrats to keep Trump impeachment trial short

Washington: US President Joe Biden urged his fellow members of the Democratic Party in the Senate to keep former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the upper chamber short and not to let it "derail the agenda".

According to The Hill, Biden has never embraced Trump's second impeachment though he hasn't sought to stand in its way either amid outrage in his party over the former president's involvement in the January 6 riots at the Capitol. Biden administration officials and allies close to the White House say the president will distance himself from Trump's trial as it begins in the second week of February.

"He's going to let the Senate do what it needs to do," said one Biden ally close to the White House as quoted by The Hill and added, "We always knew this was going to happen. We always knew this would be the position we're in now with Republicans. And now he's going to respect the process and let it play out."

It is reported that the impeachment trial poses some risks to Biden, and some Democrats had warned it could ruin his early agenda.

"He's come to the White House with a strong unity message and the last thing he wants is for the impeachment trial to define the early days of his presidency," one ally said.

Citing sources, it was reported that Biden and his advisers have been in frequent touch with Democratic leaders in Congress, and some members of Biden's inner circle threw their support behind impeachment.

After the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Cedric Richmond, who resigned from Congress to become a senior Biden adviser, expressed immediate support for impeachment, according to a source familiar with the internal conversations on Biden's team.

But several prominent Democrats in both chambers voiced concern early in the process about a Senate impeachment trial delaying Biden's agenda. "We already know the outcome before it starts and that's frustrating to everybody," said a Senate Democratic aide after this week's vote on the motion sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky.).

The Hill further reported that House Majority Whip James Clyburn advocated for waiting after Biden's first 100 days in office before sending an article of impeachment to the Senate.

Across the Capitol, in the upper chamber, Senators Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy privately expressed concerns that confirming Biden's Cabinet nominees and moving a COVID-19 relief package should be the top priorities.

Murphy said, "my point privately was not necessarily that we shouldn't hold a trial but we needed a couple of weeks to get the Cabinet in place and to get COVID [relief] moving."

Kaine said Friday he raised early concerns about "the likely outcome" of a trial.

"I just felt as outrageous as the behavior was and as much as accountability is needed, I just didn't see a way that Republicans would get to 17 votes to convict," he said.

In fact, earlier this week he told CNN he thought "it (the impeachment trial) has to happen."

Immediately after the riot, Biden signaled the decision was for lawmakers.

The US Senate signalled on Tuesday that there are not nearly enough votes to convict ex-President Donald Trump in an impeachment trial when five Republican senators rejected an effort by Senator Rand Paul to declare the looming trial as unconstitutional.

The US Senate formally opened the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump on Tuesday with the swearing-in of Senate President Pro-Tempore Patrick Leahy to preside over the process and the swearing-in of the senators to serve as jurors.

On Monday, the House of Representatives delivered the article of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol building on January 6 to stop Congress from verifying President Joe Biden's win in the 2020 election.

The impeachment trial arguments will begin on February 9.