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Biden says 2nd Trump impeachment trial ‘has to happen’

Donald J. Trump at the White House on Nov. 13, 2020. (Tia Dufour/White House) | Joe Biden at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Feb. 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
January 26, 2021

President Joe Biden told CNN on Monday that the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump “has to happen.”

During a quick interview with the news outlet in the West Wing, Biden acknowledged the impact that the trial could have on moving forward with legislation and Cabinet nominees, but added there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.”

The president said he thought the trial would have a different outcome while there was still time left in Trump’s term, noting that he does not believe 17 Republican senators will vote for a conviction.

“The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” Biden said.

Earlier this month, Biden called the House’s decision to impeach President Trump for the second time “a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience.”

“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” Biden said. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”

Also on Monday, House impeachment managers delivered the article of impeachment to the Senate, formally beginning the former president’s second impeachment trial. Trump is the only president to be impeached twice in the history of the United States.

CNN reported that two sources familiar with the proceedings said Chief Justice John Roberts will not preside over the impeachment trial like he did the first time, likely leaving the role to Senator Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate.

The Constitution requires the chief justice to preside over a trial involving the current United States president, a position Trump no longer holds.

Whether the trial will include witnesses and how long the trial will take is unclear.  

A number of Republicans has vocally opposed the impeachment trial, with Senator Rand Paul even calling it an “unconstitutional sham.”

“I object to this unconstitutional sham of an ‘impeachment’ trial and I will force a vote on whether the Senate can hold a trial of a private citizen,” the Senator tweeted.

Senator Paul continued, tweeting, “Republicans should reject any process that involves a partisan Democrat in the chair instead of the Chief Justice.”

Meanwhile, Biden has signed over a dozen executive orders during his first days in office, and still has an extensive list of nominations that need to be confirmed in the Senate.