Biden backtracks in Iowa, now says he'd obey subpoena to testify

Joe Biden finds himself in a self-inflicted verbal dust-up with the press this weekend. He is now trying to clean up remarks he made during an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board Friday.

During the interview, Biden was asked to confirm an earlier statement that he would not comply if subpoenaed by the Senate. He said he would not participate in the Senate trial to impeach President Trump when asked about it earlier in December. Confirming to the editorial board that he would not comply if he is subpoenaed to testify in the Senate trial, Biden was clearly caught off-guard by the immediate blowback he received.

Testifying before the Senate on the matter would take attention away from Trump and the allegations against him, Biden said. Not even “that thug” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City mayor, has accused Biden of doing anything but his job, the former vice president said. Biden also said any attempt to subpoena him would be on “specious” grounds, and he predicted it wouldn’t come to that.

“What are you going to cover?” Biden said to Register Executive Editor Carol Hunter in response to a question. “You guys are going to cover for three weeks anything that I said. And (Trump’s) going to get away. You guys buy into it all the time. Not a joke … Think what it’s about. It’s all about what he does all the time, his entire career. Take the focus off. This guy violated the Constitution. He said it in the driveway of the White House. He acknowledged he asked for help.”

That’s quite a rambling word salad, isn’t it? He’s accusing the press of “buying into” something and allowing President Trump to “get away”. Then he says that Trump violated the Constitution by asking for help. Poor Joe. None of that is a coherent answer to anything other than admitting he doesn’t want the press to look into his own activities. This is Joe Biden attempting to obstruct Congress while accusing Trump of doing the same. Haven’t we been told by Democrats that if there is nothing to hide, everyone should be willing to testify?

To be clear, there has not been a subpoena issued to Joe Biden by the Senate. Nancy Pelosi has not delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate and the trial has not begun. As of right now, it is still up in the air as to if the Senate will hold a trial. All of the details are being debated among Senate Republicans. There is no indication that a subpoena will actually be issued to Biden or that he will be expected to testify. Some Republicans want to have him do so, as well as his son Hunter, to get answers about Hunter’s sweet deal with a Ukrainian energy company while Joe was vice-president and the Obama administration’s point man in the country.

When Biden’s remarks were exposed, naturally the obvious was pointed out – it sure sounds like good old Joe would be obstructing Congress, now doesn’t it? Obstruction of Congress is literally one of the two articles of impeachment. He looks like the ultimate hypocrite criticizing others for not responding to subpoenas while saying he’d do so himself.

Clean up on aisle five. By Saturday Biden realized he had some ‘splaining to do. He told Iowans during a town hall that he didn’t really mean what he said – he just doesn’t want to make Trump’s impeachment process about himself or his family. It’s about the country, you know. He even went into full victim mode as he spoke.

“No one’s taken as much heat and as many lies thrown at them as I have, but again, this is not about me. It’s not about my family. It’s about the nation. And we have to reach out and unify this country,” Biden said in Ottumwa on Saturday.

He tried to assure the voters at the town hall that he won’t really defy Congress and refuse to testify if they call him to do so. It’s those other guys that don’t do the right thing, he said. He was asked about it at the town hall and had to dance around his answer.

“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. “But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial.”

“Well, first of all, I would obey any subpoena that was sent to me,” he said after an audience member asked him about the issue. “But the point I was making, as it relates to me, is the only rational reason … that I could possibly be called in an impeachment trial was, ‘Can I shed any light on whether or not he committed the crimes he’s accused of?’ And there’s no reason to believe I would have any notion of whether he committed that crime.”

“There’s nothing to celebrate,” he said of Trump’s impeachment. “But the Constitution requires Congress to act.”

He said he believes the president “basically indicted himself by acknowledging that he’s asked for help from foreign countries as well as engaging in doing everything he could to prevent Congress from doing its job.

No reason to believe he would have “any notion of whether he committed that crime”? Biden sure doesn’t hesitate to accuse Trump of criminal wrongdoing. He has repeatedly said Trump is guilty of impeachable actions. Biden can’t have it both ways.

I’ll end with a little nugget from one of Biden’s town halls Saturday. A woman asked him to name who he would pick to be vice-president if he wins the nomination – she wanted to know in case Biden is impeached himself.

At his event in Washington, a woman asked Biden who he would name as a running mate “so that people know who they probably will end up having to step in if you do get the nomination and are impeached.”

Biden pushed back against the premise.

“You make it sound like this is just a game that’s being played — impeaching President Trump,” he said. “… The House did not impeach President Trump because he uses raw language and he denigrates people. (They’ve impeached) him because he’s doing two things that no president has allegedly ever done.”

The woman gets it. This is a game for the Democrats. It’s the ultimate game – a blatant power grab because Democrats can’t accept the results of the 2016 election. They know Trump will likely be re-elected and this is how they are trying to prevent that.