On Monday, President Joe Biden said his most extensive comments since taking office on former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Biden made the comment during a brief one-on-one interview with CNN in the halls of the West Wing.
“I think it has to happen,” Biden said.
The president acknowledged the effect it could have on his legislative agenda and Cabinet nominees but said there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.”
Biden believed that the outcome would be different if Trump had six months left in his term, but said he doesn’t think 17 Republican senators will vote to convict Trump, he told CNN.
“The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” Biden said.
Biden’s comments were made the same night the House impeachment managers formally triggered the start of Trump’s second impeachment trial after they walked across the Capitol and began reading on the Senate floor the charge against Trump, the first president in history to be impeached twice.
The impeachment trial has emerged over Biden’s early days in office as he’s sought to strike an uneasy balance between supporting its trial and pushing a message of unity.
In a previous report by CNN, the Biden administration was initially cold on starting his term — which he pledged would “turn the page” on Trump — with a focus on the former President.
However, as more alarming details came into focus about the violent US Capitol attack, aides said that early discussions among Biden advisers of taking an active role in slowing or trying to somehow manage impeachment were abandoned, as they’ve become well aware that trying to do so could divide Democrats.
“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” Biden said. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”
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