Biden made the comment during a brief one-on-one interview with CNN in the halls of the west wing. He recognized the impact this could have on his legislative agenda and cabinet candidates, but said there would be “a worse impact if it did not happen”.
Biden told CNN he believed the outcome would be different if Trump had six months left in office, but said he didn’t think 17 Republican senators would vote in favor of Trump.
“The Senate has changed since I was there, but it hasn’t changed that much,” Biden said.
The House impeachment executives officially kicked off Trump’s second impeachment trial on Monday night after walking across the Capitol and reading the Senate indictment against Trump, the first president in history to be indicted twice.
The contours of Trump’s Senate process take shape as the ceremonial elements begin. The Senate’s longest-serving Democrat is expected to preside over the trial, and Democrats are still debating whether to prosecute witnesses during a trial that could take part in February.
Chief Justice John Roberts will not chair as he did on Trump’s first impeachment, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Instead, Senator Patrick Leahy, the interim President of the Senate, will preside, the sources said. The constitution says that the chief judge will preside if the person on trial is the current President of the United States while senators preside over other cases, a source said.
As the fourth impeachment trial of a president in US history begins in the Senate, two big questions remain about the Democrats’ impeachment process: whether they are looking for witnesses and how long the trial will take. The answers to both are not yet known, according to several sources familiar with the matter.
This story breaks and is updated.