After facing substantial criticism for his recent vow not to comply with any Senate subpoena during an impeachment trial, Joe Biden’s now kind-of-sort-of backtracking on that vow.
“I want to clarify something I said yesterday,” Biden tweeted on Saturday. “In my 40 years in public life, 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.”
“But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial,” he continued. “That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.”
Except that wasn’t the point he was trying to make. He said on multiple occasions that he would not comply with a subpoena, which sounds a lot like obstruction of Congress to me. Biden is trying to pretend there’s no legitimate reason why he’d be called as a witness. While he previously argued that if he testified it would be a distraction from Trump, now he’s trying to say there’s no “legal basis” for him to testify. “I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial,” he said. “That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.”
Except he’s wrong. The issue at hand here is whether there was any justification for Trump to suggest Biden’s conduct merits an investigation. It has already been established that Trump has every legal right to request the assistance of a foreign government in an investigation. The question that needs to be answered is whether the conduct of Joe Biden merits such an investigation. Which, I previously noted, there is.
As I previously noted, there’s video of Biden bragging about his quid pro quo with Ukraine which protected his son’s company from investigation. Even the Democrats’ witnesses during the impeachment inquiry acknowledged the appearance of impropriety with his son Hunter Biden’s $83,000/month board position at Burisma Holdings that he wasn’t qualified for, which he was cleared for by the Obama White House over the objections of the State Department. And then, of course, there’s the claim that Burisma requested the Obama administration quash the corruption allegations against the company.
Joe Biden is still trying to pretend that this isn’t about him or his son, but it absolutely is. Whether or not there was any justification for Trump to bring up his name with regarding to rooting out corruption is actually crucial to the point.
“The subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government,” Biden says. “They should go to the White House.”
Maybe he’s right on that point, but they should go to the Obama White House, including everyone that was involved with the decision to make firing the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma official administration policy, which includes Joe Biden and Barack Obama.
While Biden sought to clarify his previous statement, he did not at any point say that if he was subpoenaed by the Senate that he would comply, so clearly he would still refuse to comply with any subpoena for testimony.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis