Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he would not comply with a subpoena to testify in the Senate impeachment trial against President Trump, should one be issued to him.
Any testimony from the 2020 Democratic contender for the White House before the Senate would draw attention away from Trump’s alleged wrongdoing and would effectively let the president off the hook, Biden claimed in an interview with the editorial board of the De Moines Register in Iowa.
“What are you going to cover?” Biden said to Register Executive Editor Carol Hunter 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.”
“You guys buy into it all the time. Not a joke …” he added. “Think what it’s about. It’s all about what he does all the time, his entire career. Take the focus off. This guy violated the Constitution. He said it in the driveway of the White House. He acknowledged he asked for help.”
The Democrat-controlled House impeached Trump earlier this month for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” related to his dealings with Ukraine. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Democrats have accused Trump of planning to withhold military aid from Ukraine until he could secure the promise of a public announcement from the country that it would investigate the business dealings there of Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Trump has denied that his July phone conversation with Ukraine’s president involved any such quid pro quo.
Trump and the Republicans, meanwhile, have asserted that Biden and his son have largely escaped scrutiny for their past involvement in Ukraine, and have accused the American media of downplaying the Bidens’ story.
Biden rejected that argument during a public appearance last weekend.
“No one’s taken as much heat and as many lies thrown at them as I have,” Biden said during a campaign stop in Ottumwa on Dec. 20, “but again, this is not about me. It’s not about my family. It’s about the nation. And we have to reach out and unify this country.”
Biden said any attempts to subpoena him would be on “specious” grounds, adding that he expected it wouldn’t happen.