Biden eyeing ways to prevent impeachment from derailing Senate confirmations
President-elect Joe Biden said Monday he was hopeful that a looming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump would not impede the confirmation of his Cabinet selections.
The president-elect said he had a discussion earlier in the day with people in both the House and Senate about ways to potentially “bifurcate” Senate proceedings along dual tracks to allow multiple things to unfold without interfering with one another.
“Can you go [a] half-day on dealing with the impeachment, and a half-day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate?” Biden told reporters after receiving the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Biden also said he was awaiting word from the Senate parliamentarian about whether such an idea was doable.
Biden’s suggestion has the blessing of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) , who is due to become the Senate majority leader later this month once Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are seated.
“We’re going to have to do several things at once, but we got to move the agenda as well,” Schumer told The Buffalo News on Sunday. “Yes, we’ve got to do both.”
During Trump’s first impeachment trial, the Senate’s proceedings began early in the afternoon each day and lasted nearly three weeks before the president was acquitted.
The House is racing to a vote on impeaching Trump for the second time during his final days in office, though a Senate trial would probably spill into the beginning of Biden’s term. That would, in turn, throw a wrench into both confirmation battles and work on a potential coronavirus relief package that the president-elect says is one of his top priorities.
Biden has been cautious not to wade into the impeachment fight — and risk poisoning his relationships with Republicans as he takes office — that exploded after the outgoing president’s response to a riotous mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol and left a handful of people dead.
“I’ve been clear that President Trump should not be in office. Period,” the president-elect said Monday, echoing similar sentiments of his from recent days.
House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, introduced an article of impeachment against Trump on Monday and signaled that it has the votes necessary to pass. Pelosi has indicated the House will vote to do so if the president refuses to resign or is not removed from office by members of his Cabinet, neither of which appear in the offing.
Some Democrats have mused about impeaching Trump but holding off on sending the paperwork to the Senate in an effort to hold off on the impeachment trial until after Biden gets key members of his Cabinet confirmed, but others are eager to move more expeditiously.
“We should try the case as soon as possible,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a leading Pelosi ally, said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”