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Sanders says he's concerned about lost campaign time during impeachment trial

Sanders says he's concerned about lost campaign time during impeachment trial

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersObama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions Americans have a choice: Socialized medicine or health care freedom Ocasio-Cortez says Democrats must focus on winning White House for Biden MORE (I-Vt.), who is atop polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, said Thursday he is worried about losing valuable time on the campaign trail while he sits through an impeachment trial that could last for weeks.

The Senate spent much of Thursday in a ceremonial session to mark the beginning of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE's trial, which included all senators present taking an oath administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to uphold impartial justice. Senators then signed an oath book one by one.

Asked later if he’s concerned about how participating in the trial will affect his White House bid, Sanders responded, “Yeah, I am.”

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“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.

Sanders is one of four Democratic senators still running for president, along with Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenAll fracked up: Biden's Keystone State breakdown What do Google, banks and chicken salad have in common? Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStart focusing on veterans' health before they enlist Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (Minn.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Cotton mocks NY Times over claim of nonpartisanship, promises to submit op-eds as test Democrats sense momentum for expanding child tax credit MORE (Colo.).

Bennet has regularly attended Senate business in recent weeks, but the other candidates have been on the trail.

Despite being about 1,000 miles from the Hawkeye State, Sanders still hit on a couple of his favorite political themes at an impromptu press conference in the Capitol basement Thursday.

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“While we go forward with this impeachment trial, I hope the American people understand that we have not forgotten that in this country, outside of Washington, D.C., today, there are millions of people who are struggling economically, millions of people who cannot afford their prescription drugs or their health care,” he said.

“We’ve got to deal with this impeachment trial but we cannot forget the very serious problems facing the American people,” he added.

Sanders also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg MORE (R-Ky.) to allow new witnesses, such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPresident Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic Trump's former Homeland Security adviser on COVID-19: 'We could have saved more lives with a different, faster approach' MORE, to testify during the impeachment trial.

“When you have a trial, you hear from witnesses. And I hope McConnell will allow those witnesses to testify and give us their version of what happened,” Sanders said.

The Vermont senator missed about half of the Senate’s votes last year as he focused on his presidential campaign.