Biden urges Senate to hold impeachment trial alongside other business

Biden urges Senate to hold impeachment trial alongside other business

Washington — President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday encouraged the Senate to balance its impending impeachment trial against President Trump with the “other urgent business of this nation” following the House’s bipartisan and historic vote to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement following the vote on the single article of impeachment, Mr. Biden stressed that in addition to grappling with the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, which left four rioters and a Capitol Police officer dead, the nation also remains in the throes of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and facing an ailing economy.

“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,” Mr. Biden said.

The president-elect told reporters earlier in the week he had spoken with members of the Senate about possibly dividing their work days between the trial and confirming his nominees, as well as working on a coronavirus relief package.

“From confirmations to key posts such as secretaries for Homeland Security, State, Defense, Treasury, and director of national intelligence, to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again,” he said. “Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work.”

Several Senate committees have scheduled confirmation hearings for Mr. Biden’s nominees. Avril Haines, the president-elect’s pick for director of national intelligence, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday. Tony Blinken, Mr. Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Lloyd Austin, the nominee to head the Pentagon, and Janet Yellen, picked for Treasury secretary, are set to have their confirmation hearings January 19. 

It’s unclear when, specifically, the Senate will begin the impeachment trial, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude” before Mr. Biden is sworn in January 20 given the rules and procedures that govern the trials.

“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office,” he said in a statement. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.”

The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump by a vote of 232-197, making the president the first to be impeached twice. Ten Republicans joined Democrats in approving the single article charging the president with incitement of insurrection for his role in last week’s deadly assault on the Capitol building.

“This criminal attack was planned and coordinated,” Mr. Biden said. ‘It was carried out by political extremists and domestic terrorists, who were incited to this violence by President Trump. It was an armed insurrection against the United States of America. And those responsible must be held accountable.”

The president-elect said the vote was “cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience.” 

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