Sen. Bernie Sanders l-Vt., is hoping for a fast impeachment trial so he can resume his campaigning in Iowa ahead of the upcoming caucuses -- but according to Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the "establishment Democrats" are hoping to drag out the process and occupy the senator in order to hand the nomination to his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
"You have establishment Republicans like Mitt Romney working against Donald Trump. Then, you have establishment Democrats working against Bernie Sanders," Gaetz said Monday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."
"They’re trying to give Joe Biden the field in Iowa and keep Bernie locked up in the United States Senate during this impeachment trial," he added. "That's just how Washington works, trying to keep the populists at bay on every side of the political spectrum."
Sanders has seen a recent surge in polling ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses but was forced to put his campaigning on hold and head back to Washington to serve in Trump's impeachment trial.
Gaetz said Sanders' "momentum in Iowa" threatens "establishment Democrats" who are hoping for a Biden nomination and accused members of both parties of trying to drag out the impeachment trial as long as possible.
"Bernie’s got momentum in Iowa. It's not ridiculous to say that the Democratic Party in an organized way would try to deprive Bernie Sanders [of] the nomination," Gaetz said.
"I think this is an effort of the establishment of both parties to keep the charade of impeachment going on as long as possible," he continued, "because it is empowering to the establishment to have all this focus on the Senate rather than have Bernie campaigning in Iowa, and the president running on a phenomenal economic record."
Gaetz also credited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for his effort to "get through this national nightmare as soon as possible" after reports circulated Sunday that he is close to finalizing a rule that would allow President Trump's team to move to dismiss the articles of impeachment to combat Democrats attempting to drag out the trial for weeks.
"We learned from Mitch McConnell's resolution that he really intends to ripen a motion to dismiss as fast as possible," Gaetz said. "The session will be in high octane for the United States Senate and it's my hope that we will push through that and get through this national nightmare as fast as possible."
Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.