Biden clarifies remark that he will not comply with Senate subpoena
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday sought to “clarify” his prior remarks that he will not comply with a potential subpoena to testify in the Senate impeachment trial against President Trump.
The 2020 presidential hopeful on Friday had told the Des Moines Register that any testimony would draw attention away from Trump’s alleged wrongdoing and let him off the hook.
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“What are you going to cover?” Biden said in response to a question about the possibility of his participation in the trial. “You guys are going to cover for three weeks anything that I said. And (Trump’s) going to get away.”
But on Saturday, he appeared to partially walk that answer back.
“I want to clarify something I said yesterday. In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests,” he tweeted.
“But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial. That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine,” he said.
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The House voted to impeach Trump on two articles this month — obstruction of Congress and abuse of power — in relation to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In that call, Trump urged Zelensky to open investigations into Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election, as well as into Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in the country.
Democrats have alleged that Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting to secure the investigations as part of what they say was a quid pro quo and even bribery. Trump has said he was only interested in corruption, and has noted that the aid was eventually unlocked.
But after a grueling few months for Trump of an impeachment inquiry in the Democrat-controlled House, the articles are expected to soon be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate for an impeachment trial — where Trump is almost certain to be acquitted and where Republicans get to set the agenda.
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It is possible that Republicans turn the trial into its own investigation of Biden’s conduct in relation to Ukraine — specifically his demand in 2016 that Ukraine fire a prosecutor who investigated an energy firm where Hunter sat on the board.
On Saturday, Biden said instead that subpoenas should go to witnesses with “testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government — they should go to the White House.”
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.