Senators Vying for Presidency Concede Impeachment Trial Will Hurt Campaigns 

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reacts to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the 6th and last Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019 …
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democrat senators who are running for U.S. president in the November 2020 election reportedly lamented this week that the looming impeachment trial will likely have a negative impact on their chances to end up in the White House by requiring them to remain in nation’s capital rather than on the campaign trail.

On Friday Politico reported: 

With the impeachment trial set to start next week, the standoff between the House and Senate on Trump’s impeachment trial has created a massive headache for the five senators running for president. [Sens. Elizabeth] Warren [D-MA], Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], Bernie Sanders [I-VT], Michael Bennet [D-CO] and Cory Booker [D-NJ] can’t skip a historic impeachment trial for the campaign trail, and so they look set to be stuck in Washington during the climax of the race for Iowa and New Hampshire.

And though there are some upsides to being in the middle of one of the biggest political stories in a generation, Senate Democrats are beginning to concede that they will be at a disadvantage — while supporters of Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden see an opportunity for their candidates to have a stage all to themselves

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has finally relented and agreed to hand over the two articles of impeachment to the Senate after holding them hostage for weeks. Lawmakers in the House approved two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — on December 18.

Pelosi’s refusal to hand over the articles delayed the start of the Senate trial that historically soon follows a vote on impeachment, increasing the chances that White House hopefuls serving the U.S. Senate will be stuck in Washington at crucial moments in the race. 

Warren had said “some things,” like impeachment, “are more important than politics.” 

She now concedes, however, that “with three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, there’s simply no substitute for being there,” Politico noted. 

“Of course it matters. We just did a 3½-hour selfie line. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter to do face to face,” Warren told Politico, adding: 

There are lots of ways to reach out and talk to people. But the best and most important one is the face to face, handshake, a hug and being able to hold up the children so they can take pictures with you, to ask a question to do a pinkie promise. And all of that is lost is if we can’t be there in person.

Sanders also noted that the timing of the Senate impeachment trial will make it difficult to plan his campaign to take the Democrat party’s nomination. 

“My job is to be here and that’s where I will be,” he pointed out. 

Booker appeared more concerned, however, recently, telling the Associated Press (AP) that even a trial that lasts two weeks would mean “literally dozens of events we won’t be able to do.”

The upcoming trial could deal a “big, big blow” to my Democratic presidential campaign by keeping me in Washington in the final weeks before the February 3 caucuses, he added. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated that the impeachment trial requiring the presence of the full Senate could take place six days per week.

Democrat senators vying for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination are likely to be tethered to Washington for Trump’s impeachment trial just as they need to be out intensifying their campaign in early-voting states. 

While the Senate is holding the trial, primaries and caucuses could be taking place in Iowa (February 3) and New Hampshire (February 11). 

There are a total of five Democrat Senators running for the presidency. 

Under the Constitution, a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators, must vote guilty to remove Trump from office. As the minority, holding 45 seats, Democrats in the chamber cannot afford missing any votes. They need to convince Republicans to join their side. 

The two independent Senators, Angus King (I-ME) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), caucus with the Democrats .


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