President Biden is on edge regarding how Senate Republicans will respond to the House Democratic impeachment managers’ case against former President Donald Trump — but he is not trying to convince them to convict the former chief executive.
“I’m just anxious to see what my Republican friends do,” Biden said of the forthcoming impeachment trial vote. “If they stand up.”
Biden is not planning on calling Republicans to urge them to convict his predecessor and bar him from again holding elected office, the new president told reporters Friday on the White House’s North Lawn. He made the comments after taking a surprise morning stroll to see a Valentine’s Day-themed display organized by first lady Jill Biden, who joined him along with dogs Champ and Major.
Biden has gradually, but not substantially, opened up about Trump’s second impeachment after insisting he would not spend a lot of time watching the trial live. On Thursday, he told reporters in the Oval Office he had seen snippets of the proceedings via news coverage.
“My guess is some minds may be changed,” he said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has also softened her tone on impeachment.
She initially said Biden was the president, “not a pundit,” adding that he was not “going to opine on the back-and-forth arguments.” But after the House impeachment managers played never-before-seen footage of the Jan. 6 sacking of the U.S. Capitol by some Trump supporters, she conceded that Biden had been “impacted by the video as a human being.”
Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, also weighed in on Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy voting that the trial is constitutional. Richmond said Cassidy, a fellow Louisianan, displayed a “profile in courage.”
The House impeachment managers, led by Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, rested their case on Thursday, laying out why they believe Trump incited the Jan. 6 violence as demonstrators tried to stop Congress counting the 2020 Electoral College votes. Trump’s lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, will start outlining the former president’s defense on Friday.