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 SandersHickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary Progressive groups urge Biden to tap Warren as running mate Young Turks host says Elizabeth Warren should be Biden's VP pick 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 TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops 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 WarrenHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats Democrats, voting rights groups pressure Senate to approve mail-in voting resources MORE (Minn.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHouse Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 'The Senate could certainly use a pastor': Georgia Democrat seeks to seize 'moral moment' Some realistic solutions for income inequality 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 McConnellFormer HUD Secretary: Congress 'should invest 0B in direct rental assistance' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated House approves .5T green infrastructure plan MORE (R-Ky.) to allow new witnesses, such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonBolton says he would have personally briefed Trump on Russian bounties Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Mark Penn Judge temporarily blocks publication of Mary Trump book 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.