Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) issued a disclaimer on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon: the impeachment trial is not an effort by House Democrats to help Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Schiff said he felt he needed to make the clarification after the previous speaker, Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), had used poll data showing Biden leading the incumbent president in the 2020 presidential race in 2019.
Garcia argued, and Schiff reiterated, that the fact that Biden was leading in the polls provided the motive for President Donald Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate Biden, which he had not done in previous years.
The Democrat House managers apparently ignored another, perhaps more obvious reason: the media had not reported the former vice president’s 2018 boast about forcing out a Ukrainian prosecutor until John Solomon reported it in The Hill in April 2019, several weeks before Biden announced that he would be running for president.
Nevertheless, Schiff said:
My colleague shared a number of slides showing the polling strength of Joe Biden vis-à-vis the president as a demonstration of his motive, the fact that he went after these political investigations to undermine someone that he was deeply concerned about. This is an appropriate point for me to make the disclaimer: the House managers take no position in the Democratic primary for president. I don’t want to lose a single more vote than necessary.
Schiff seemed to imply he expects to lose the votes of at least some Democratic Senators, although he may also have been trying — as he did in his opening remarks earlier Thursday morning — to make a joke.
Several critics have noted that many of Biden’s rivals — Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) — are missing crucial campaign and fundraising activities in the last days before the Iowa caucuses because they are required by the Constitution to attend the impeachment trial.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.