Yesterday, Joe Biden said he wouldn’t comply with a congressional subpoena in Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. Here is the relevant portion of his remarks to the Des Moines Register:
Former Vice President Joe Biden confirmed Friday he would not comply with a subpoena to testify in a Senate trial of President Donald Trump…
Biden said in early December he wouldn’t comply with a subpoena by the Senate, and confirmed that statement Friday in an interview with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. He has not been subpoenaed, but Trump’s allies have floated the idea.
Testifying before the Senate on the matter would take attention away from Trump and the allegations against him, Biden said. Not even “that thug” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City mayor, has accused Biden of doing anything but his job, the former vice president said. Biden also said any attempt to subpoena him would be on “specious” grounds, and he predicted it wouldn’t come to that.
Biden said even if he volunteered to testify in an attempt to clear the air, it would create a media narrative that would let Trump off the hook.
“What are you going to cover?” Biden said to Register Executive Editor Carol Hunter in response to a question. “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 … 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.”
I thought that was a crappy answer and said so in the morning thread. Opinions varied. But this morning, Biden clarified on Twitter:
I want to clarify something I said yesterday. In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests.
But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial. That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.
The subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government — they should go to the White House.
That’s a much better answer! Still, I think Ozark Hillbilly had the best response of all:
“I will answer any subpoena in the same way as Donald trump. If he agrees to appear and submit himself to questions without any preconditions on the matters before the Senate, I will do the same.”
The Biden campaign should hire Mr. Hillbilly as a consultant. Open thread!