Joe Biden expanded on his statement that he wouldn’t cooperate with a subpoena if he was called to testify in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The 2020 presidential candidate had initially said that he wouldn’t testify while speaking with the Des Moines Register, and according to The Washington Examiner, he expanded on his statement in a series of tweets Saturday morning.
As Senate Republicans are suggesting that Biden should be forced to testify in the trial, the former vice president responded that he wouldn’t honor a subpoena because it would take attention away from the focus on Trump, according to USA Today. Biden said that his appearance would be covered in the media as the main story, taking the focus off of the president’s trial.
After facing criticism for the comments, Biden took to social media to address the controversy, saying that he had always honored his legal obligations.
“I want to clarify something I said yesterday. In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests,” Biden tweeted.
However, he says that the impeachment trial shouldn’t be focused on him but on Trump.
“But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial. That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.”
The former vice president went on to say that he thought the Senate should be issuing subpoenas to any government witnesses who were present when Trump reportedly pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“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,” he wrote.
Both Biden and his son, along with the company Burisma, which the younger Biden sat on the board of, are central to the Ukraine scandal that has rocked the Trump presidency and resulted in the House passing two articles of impeachment against the president, a move that appears to be largely supported by American voters. Trump’s supporters have called for Biden to testify and answer for his role, while progressives say that the claim of any wrongdoing on Biden’s part are based on conspiracies and specious arguments and don’t warrant testimony.
Trump has continued to push the conspiracy, most recently with a tweet on Friday night.
Wow Crazy Nancy, what’s going on? This is big stuff! https://t.co/hoHSERKgh9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2019