President Joe Biden told CNN on Monday that the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump “has to happen.”
“I think it has to happen,” Biden told CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins in a brief White House interview, offering what CNN called the president’s “most extensive comments” on the subject since assuming office last week.
NEW: President Biden offers his most extensive comments yet on impeachment, telling @kaitlancollins: “I think it has to happen,” Biden said. He acknowledged the effect a trial could have on his agenda and nominees, but said there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) January 26, 2021
While Biden acknowledged that his Cabinet picks and legislative agenda would be negatively affected by an impeachment trial, he told the network there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.”
Biden expressed doubt, however, that the outcome would result in 17 GOP senators voting for a conviction with Trump currently out of office. “The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” he told CNN.
House impeachment managers made the trek across the U.S. Capitol on Monday to deliver the impeachment charge against Trump for allegedly inciting the January 6 riot that saw pro-Trump demonstrators break into the Senate chamber and the offices of legislators, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The then-president-elect expressed hope that the Senate could deal with both impeachment and “other urgent business” in a statement released January 13, a week after the riot.
“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,” Biden said in the statement. “From confirmations to key posts … to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again.” (RELATED: Rand Paul And George Stephanopoulos Spar On Election Fraud: ‘I Won’t Be Cowed By Liberals In The Media’)
However, CNN reported that before more “alarming details” about the Capitol attack emerged, Biden and his staff “were initially cold on starting his administration — which Biden pledged would ‘turn the page’ on Trump — with a focus on the former president.”