President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused House Democrats of withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate in an effort to protect former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden from being exposed as corrupt. It did not take long for some of the president’s leading critics to call that “nutty.”
“The Democrats will do anything to avoid a trial in the Senate in order to protect Sleepy Joe Biden, and expose the millions and millions of dollars that ‘Where’s’ Hunter, & possibly Joe, were paid by companies and countries for doing NOTHING,” the president tweeted early Tuesday morning. “Joe wants no part of this mess!”
Trump’s accusation stems from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) stated position that she will not select impeachment managers – who essentially act as prosecutors, arguing the House’s case against President Trump before the Senate — until receiving assurances that a fair trial will occur.
The strategy of temporarily withholding articles of impeachment, which was proposed in an op-ed by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, was aimed at increasing Democrats’ bargaining power after the Senate’s GOP leadership publicly said they had already drawn conclusions on the president’s innocence, and planned to closely coordinate with the White House on the proceedings.
Tribe said Tuesday afternoon that Trump’s comments about that strategy were wholly disconnected from reality.
“As one of the originators of the idea of temporarily withholding the Articles of Impeachment from the Senate, I can say with 100% certainty that Trump’s accusation is totally baseless and nutty,” the constitutional scholar wrote. “It bears no connection at all to reality.”
Never Trump attorney George Conway took the criticism of the president a step further, calling Trump’s tweet “gaslighting” and “another pathological lie.”
Democrats maintain that unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against the Bidens have no bearing on the issue of whether Trump abused his power as president by seeking politically advantageous investigations from the Ukrainian government.
Joe Biden previously said that he would defy a subpoena from Congress to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, stating the chamber had no “legal basis” to seek his testimony. But Biden “reversed course” over the weekend, saying that he would “obey any subpoena” sent his way.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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