Donald Trump launched a new line of attack against Democrats, saying this week that his impeachment trial is really just a ploy by the party to stop Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination.
Trump’s trial launched late this week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi submitted the articles of impeachment, several weeks after they were passed by the Democratic-led House in December. Pelosi said that she wanted to wait to learn the terms of Trump’s trial, and during that time made a push for Republicans to include witnesses. But as a result, the trial is now launching just as Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination are making final pushes before the Iowa caucus on February 3.
As The Telegraph reported, Trump now appears to be seizing on that in making a claim that the trial is really meant to stymie Sanders. As a sitting senator from Vermont, Sanders will join other members of the U.S. Senate in attending the impeachment proceedings.
“They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously,” Trump said. “They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial.”
Trump has already been invoking Sanders in what critics see as an attempt to sow division within the Democratic Party. Earlier in the week, Trump waded into the spat between Sanders and fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren that included some back-and-forth claims of dishonesty regarding political attacks and a conversation in which Warren claimed Sanders told her a woman could not win in 2020. Trump publicly backed Sanders.
Trump made similar moves as a candidate in 2016, making appeals to Sanders supporters after the end of the contentious Democratic primary. Trump even offered to debate Sanders when Hillary Clinton backed out of talks for a final debate near the end of the primary, when she held a commanding lead over Sanders in delegates. Trump later backed away from his offer.
Sanders did not appear to welcome the support from Trump and the president’s claims that Democrats were rigging the primary against him. He took to Twitter to slam Trump and reiterate his support for the president’s impeachment.
“Let’s be clear about who is rigging what: it is Donald Trump’s action to use the power of the federal government for his own political benefit that is the cause of the impeachment trial,” Sanders tweeted. “Democrats are going to unite to sweep him out of the White House in November.”