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Joe Biden refuses to comply with Senate subpoena

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Hotel Ottumwa on December 21, 2019 in Ottumwa, Iowa. (Photo by AFP)

Former US Vice-President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said he would not testify in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Biden said on Friday that he would not comply with a Senate subpoena to testify because it would take the focus off Trump.

Trump's tactic is to "take the focus off" himself, he said in an interview with the Des Moines Register's executive editor Carol Hunter.

"Think what it’s about. It's all about what he does all the time, his entire career. Take the focus off," Biden continued. "This guy violated the Constitution. He said it in the driveway of the White House. He acknowledged he asked for help.”

The Democrat-led House of representatives approved two articles of impeachment against Trump on December 18 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following an impeachment probe triggered by an anonymous intelligence community whistleblower, accusing the president of pressing Ukraine's president to investigate Trump's political rival, Biden, and his son.

The House has yet to send the impeachment articles to Senate and is waiting until it receives more clarity from Senate about what an impeachment trial will look like.

In order to formally launch a trial in the upper chamber of Congress, the 100-member Senate must pass a resolution with a simple majority authorizing the proceeding.

A two-thirds majority vote would be needed in the Senate to remove the president from office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican , says he wants to start the Senate trial as soon as lawmakers return from the holiday recess in January.

In order to confirm that, the House must first transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. 

'Impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine'

On Saturday, Biden expanded on his remarks about complying with congressionally issued subpoenas.

He said he cooperated with all "legitimate congressional oversight requests" in his 40 years in pubic life but argued there was no "legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial." 

"The subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government — they should go to the White House," Biden added. 


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