During an interview on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden said that House Democrats' probing allegations that President Trump obstructed justice are getting blocked. According to Biden, impeachment proceedings against Trump “could come up very quickly.” As congressional Democrats dig into Mueller’s report, Biden said that there may be “no alternative” but to move towards an impeachment hearing.
While many of the 2020 candidates are pressing for the impeachment proceedings to begin, Biden’s comments are some of the strongest to date. Leading the race for the White House, Biden made his comments during an interview after a campaign event in New Hampshire. Biden also addressed the attacks that he’s been receiving from some of his rivals. When questioned about the personal jabs, Biden said: “I’m not going to go down to anybody else’s level when they start attacks.” Specifically, Biden pushed against Bernie Sanders and his big-dollar fundraisers.
Biden was in New Hampshire when it was discovered that the White House had instructed two former aides, Annie Donaldson and Hope Hicks, to ignore the congressional subpoenas that demanded documents related to allegations that Trump was guilty of obstructing justice. Biden explained that House Democrats are getting blocked and he argued that they have a “responsibility to move if, in fact, they are unable to get the data that is totally within their power to be able to subpoena before the Congress to make a judgment.” He added: “And if they stonewall that, the only other constitutional avenue for them is impeachment.”
Bernie Sanders, one of Biden’s top rivals, called for the House to begin impeachment proceedings last week. At a rally in Nevada, Sanders said: “I believe the Judiciary Committee should begin impeachment inquiries. That is inquiries, not impeachment, to determine whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses.” Other candidates for the 2020 election have outright called on Congress to move forward with impeachment. Sen. Cory Booker said there is a "legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately." While Sen. Elizabeth Warren described Mueller’s statement as "an impeachment referral” that Congress should act on. Sen. Kamala Harris agreed with Warren and added that "We need to start impeachment proceedings. It's our constitutional obligation."
House Democrats are suggesting that they believe the party will attempt to impeach President Trump. Rep. Jim Clyburn from South Carolina said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that he believes that impeachment proceedings will be brought up against Trump in the future. During a radio interview last week, Jerry Nadler said “there certainly is” justification for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, be he also said that it was imperative that the American people were on board first.
Mueller’s statement has put pressure on Nancy Pelosi, who has avoided the calls to move forward. Pelosi has been wishy-washy about impeachment, saying last week that "Many constituents want to impeach the president. But we want to do what is right and what gets results." Even if they do impeach, Democrats don’t seem to have the Senate votes, which is controlled by Republican and a supermajority is required to remove Trump from the White House.
It’s painfully clear that Biden’s rivals don’t care for him too much. Among the other Democratic candidates who have a problem with Biden include Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg. “We will not defeat Donald Trump unless we bring excitement and energy into the campaign,” said Sanders. He continued by saying: “We cannot go back to the old ways.”
Responding to his critics, Biden told audience members in Berlin that “I’m not going about going back to the past. I’m talking about avoiding a terrible future if we do not figure out how to make this work. The Republicans are my opponents, they’re not my enemy.” He also warned: “there’s people who say that you can’t work with the other side. Well, if that’s the case, prepare your children for a totally different U.S. A totally different world. I don’t believe it.”
During his interview, Biden said, “I think the worst thing we could do is get into a match where we’re going after each other in the Democratic Party. So I’m going to try my best not to be negative relative to my opponents.” When Biden was asked if he’ll respond to the attacks during the Democratic primary debates, he said that “It depends. Just like I’m not going to go down to Trump’s level when he starts his attacks, I’m not going to go down to anybody else’s level when they start attacks.”
Biden did say that he was going to set the record straight over his top-dollar fundraisers. “The stuff about Biden with the big contributors. We’ve had over 300,000 individual contributors. Average contribution of these is under $200,” said Biden. “I’ve taken money as high as $2,800 from people. But my lord, this idea of Biden’s the big donor guy, come on. I’ve eschewed any relationship with any PACs,” he continued. And taking a shot at his rivals, Biden said: “I’ll respond to assertions. I’m not likely to go and point out what they’re doing, which is sometimes different than what they say.”