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 SandersSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' 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 TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license 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 WarrenSteyer endorses Biden for president Biden joins calls to release racial breakdowns of coronavirus cases, deaths The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license Senators, bipartisan state officials press Congress for more election funds The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats MORE (Minn.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetMichael Bennet endorses Biden for president Zoom facing class-action suit over privacy, security shortfalls Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus tracking sparks surveillance concerns | Target delivery workers plan Tuesday walkout | Federal agency expedites mail-in voting funds to states | YouTube cracks down on 5G conspiracy videos 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 McConnellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Trump advisor Bossert says to test the well, not ill; Senate standoff on next relief bill McCarthy slams Democrats on funding for mail-in balloting Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) to allow new witnesses, such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonChina sees chance to expand global influence amid pandemic Trump ignores science at our peril Bolton defends decision to shutter NSC pandemic office 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.