Trump Impeachment

What’s Biden's strategy for Trump's impeachment?

All of Washington will be gripped this week by the second Senate impeachment trial against Donald Trump. Joe Biden has other things on his mind.

What’s Biden's strategy for Trump's impeachment?
CARLOS BARRIA REUTERS

According to President Joe Biden’s team, he will not be wasting much time worrying about whether Donald Trump will end up convicted or acquitted of his ongoing impeachment trial, which began today in the Senate.

What’s Joe Biden’s strategy with regards to impeachment trial?

President Biden’s apparent strategy seems to be a very simple one: it’s not his remit, so he'll steer clear of it. And it doesn’t seem too bad a plan; what with the pandemic, worsening hunger and economic crises and new coronavirus variants to manage as well as a wavering vaccine rollout, his American Rescue Plan must take priority over making sure his predecessor is held accountable for inciting a violent riot.

The move also suggests that Biden feels the Democrats leading the charge for the prosecution in Trump’s impeachment trial have everything under control.

What did Psaki say about Biden’s attitude towards the trial?

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has remained extremely tight-lipped on Biden’s attitude towards the trial, even refusing to answer whether the President will receive daily updates on proceedings or not.

But when Psaki was pressed on Monday she did clarify that Biden would be keeping his nose firmly out of the Senate’s trial. “He will not spend much time watching the proceedings — if any time — over the course of this week,” she said. “He will leave the pace, and the process and the mechanics of the impeachment proceedings up to members of Congress.

The press secretary then gave a little more detail when asked about the discord between Biden’s notable silence on the Senate trial, but his clear stance this week on Trump’s being too unstable to receive security briefings.

Psaki responded, “Well, he ran against him because he felt he was unfit for office and he defeated him, and that's why he's no longer president — Trump is no longer president of the United States,” she said. “So I think his views of the former president are pretty clear. But he's going to leave it to the Senate to see these impeachment proceedings through.”

“[It] just makes no sense for Biden to weigh in on the impeachment,” one source familiar with the White House’s thinking told Politico. “He’s already said that he thought [there] were grounds for impeachment but he has to stay focused on helping people in this crisis.”

“The last thing Americans want to see right now is that conversation from the podium,” Karen Finney, a former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser and Democratic strategist, said of the White House talking about impeachment. “Part of what they’re trying to do here is say ‘it’s a new day it’s a new administration.’ They’re not going to use the White House and the tools of the presidency to engage in politics.”

What’s Trump being impeached for?

In the US Constitution, impeachment is appropriate when a President or other federal official has committed one of the violations described as “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” It allows a President to be removed from office; and after the trial the Senate could subsequently vote to disqualify Trump from ever holding federal office again.

The article of impeachment drawn up by Democrats the very night of 6 January, when an insurrection on the Capitol complex endangered hundreds and killed five is brief. It charges Trump with threatening “the integrity of the democratic system”, interfering “with the peaceful transition of power”, and imperilling “a coequal branch of Government.”