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Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders
President Trump on Friday accused Democrats of deliberately diminishing Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) chances of winning the party's presidential nomination by keeping him off the campaign trail to serve as a juror in the Senate impeachment trial.
The president in a pair of tweets sought to exploit potential frustration among Democrats by echoing a theory among some lawmakers that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was aiding the 2020 candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden by timing impeachment votes to keep Sanders and other candidates in Washington as the Iowa caucuses approach.
"They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously," Trump tweeted. "They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial."
"Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy Joe Biden, and Bernie is shut out again," he continued.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other lawmakers have suggested that Pelosi is hindering senators running for president by withholding impeachment articles from the Senate until earlier this week, during a critical stretch before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
Sanders and Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) are all running for president but will be jurors in the impeachment trial, which will begin in earnest on Tuesday.
Pelosi has repeatedly denied politics were a factor when considering impeachment matters, and she and other Democrats have said they held onto the articles to secure a more fair trial in the Senate.
Sanders, who is at or near the top of most polls in the Democratic primary, conceded Thursday he is worried about losing valuable time on the campaign trail while he sits through an impeachment trial that could last for weeks.
"I would rather be in Iowa today. There's a caucus there in 2 1/2 weeks. I'd rather be in New Hampshire and Nevada and so forth. But I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job and I'm here to do my job," he said.
The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is eight days later, on Feb. 11.