Biden on Trump impeachment: 'That's a decision for the Congress to make'

Biden on Trump impeachment: 'That's a decision for the Congress to make'
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Sidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in Georgia MORE on Friday declined to take a position on whether House Democrats should move forward with impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE over his role in Wednesday's riots at the Capitol.

"What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide, but I'm going to have to — and they're going to have to be ready to hit the ground running," Biden said. "Because when [Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisScalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag Howard University's marching band to escort Harris at inauguration MORE] and I are sworn in we're going to be introducing immediately significant pieces of legislation to deal with the virus, to deal with the economy and deal with economic growth."

"So we're going to do our job, and Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs," he added.


Biden said he has long felt Trump is unfit for the presidency, but that with 12 days until the inauguration he is focused on his agenda, particularly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic fallout.

Pressed on what guidance he would give to Congress if asked for his thoughts on impeachment, he again deferred.

"I'd tell them that's a decision for the Congress to make. I'm focused on my job," he said.

The president-elect later indicated he felt the best course of action may be to simply let the clock run out on Trump's term.

"I think it's important we get on with the business of getting him out of office. The quickest way that will happen is us getting sworn in on the 20th," Biden said. "What happens before or after that is a judgment for the Congress to make, but that's what I'm looking forward to: him leaving office."


Biden said he would speak later in the day with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake New York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration GOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to Parkland school shooting as 'false flag' event on Facebook MORE (D-Calif.) and party leaders about his agenda and "whatever they want to talk to me about." 

Democrats are rapidly moving toward filing articles of impeachment against Trump over his role in the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday, where the president's supporters stormed the building to try and halt the certification of Biden's victory.

Trump, after months of denying the results of the election, addressed supporters just before the riot, urging them to march on the Capitol and telling them they will "never take back our country with weakness."

"You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated," he said.

Dozens of Democrats have voiced support for impeachment, and Pelosi has warned that she is prepared to move forward with it if Vice President Pence does not invoke the 25th Amendment to deem the president unfit. But Pence has not engaged in discussions on the matter, and multiple Cabinet members who would have to sign on have either resigned or expressed opposition to the idea.

As a result, impeachment appears the likeliest option for removing Trump from office before Inauguration Day. A few Republicans have indicated they would be supportive or at least entertain the idea, but others have argued it would be too divisive with so little time left in Trump's term.

"If Speaker Pelosi pushes impeachment in the last days of the Trump presidency it will do more harm than good," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate presses Biden's pick for secretary of State on Iran, China, Russia and Yemen GOP senator questions constitutionality of an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office Graham pushes Schumer for vote to dismiss impeachment article MORE (R-S.C.) tweeted. "I’m hopeful President-elect Biden sees the damage that would be done from such action."

—Updated at 3:17 p.m.