Biden ‘anxious’ to see if Republicans ‘stand up’ in impeachment trial

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President Biden said Friday that he is “anxious” to see whether Republican senators “stand up” in the impeachment trial of former President Trump in comments to reporters Friday after the House managers rested their case.

“I am just anxious to see what my Republican friends do, if they stand up,” Biden told CNN’s Jeremy Diamond after unveiling hearts on the North Lawn of the White House for Valentine’s Day along with first lady Jill Biden.

Biden indicated he doesn’t plan to speak with any Republicans about how they will vote. The president did not answer a shouted question about whether he believes Trump should be convicted of inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The White House has by and large avoided weighing in on the impeachment trial and Biden has not said explicitly whether he believes Trump should be convicted.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later Friday deflected a question about whether Biden was signaling Republicans should vote to convict Trump. 

“He means that the Senate should take their responsibility seriously in how they view and pay attention to the trial this week,” Psaki said. 

Biden told reporters Thursday that he believed new footage of the Capitol insurrection presented by the House managers could change “some minds” in the trial.

No more than six GOP senators are expected to vote with Democrats to convict Trump, meaning Trump would be acquitted in the trial.

The footage presented on Wednesday showed how close pro-Trump rioters came to officials including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and then-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). The House managers on Thursday implored senators to vote to convict Trump, arguing he could incite violence again if they do not.

It is unclear whether Biden may ultimately weigh in more on the trial once a verdict is reached. The White House has indicated repeatedly that the president is leaving it to Congress to handle the impeachment proceedings, and that Biden is focused on addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s comments come as Trump’s attorneys are set to present their defense Friday afternoon. They are expected to conclude their arguments by the end of the day, paving the way for the trial to wrap up as soon as the weekend.

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump Impeachment Jen Psaki Jill Biden Joe Biden Mitt Romney White House

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