President Biden will not weigh in on the impeachment trial drama, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday.
Psaki was pressed by reporters for Biden’s input on whether the Senate should convict Trump after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will deliver the impeachment articles to the Senate on Monday. Convicting Trump could lead to a vote that would bar him from ever holding U. S. office.
"He’s no longer in the Senate, and he believes that it's up to the Senate and Congress to determine how they will hold the former president accountable and what the mechanics and timeline of that process will be," Psaki said.
She insisted that Congress "can walk and chew gum at the same time," meaning they could pursue impeachment trial while simultaneously pushing forward Biden’s appointments and legislative agenda.
As Congress takes sides in the debate over whether to continue Trump’s impeachment trial even after he’s out of office, all eyes have turned to the president to weigh in.
For Biden, the choice would come down to publicly breaking with Democrats to oppose an impeachment that could burn up time for policy debate and delay priorities such as his economic relief package, or as Republicans have warned, risking further divisions after a weekslong campaign of "unity."
During her first press briefing Wednesday, after Biden's inauguration, Psaki was asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy if the new president thinks the impeachment process should be dropped.
"Well, he spoke today, as you all saw, about unity in his inaugural address and the importance of unity and bringing the country together and the resolve of the American people in helping to get through this moment," Psaki said. "You know, we are confident, though, that just like the American people can, the Senate can also multitask and they can do their constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the American people."
The House of Representatives this month voted to impeach Trump for the second time in his presidency for "incitement of insurrection" after a mob of his supporters besieged the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to stop the certification of then-President-elect Biden's electoral college win.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has seemed confident the Senate can pursue impeachment, confirm Biden’s Cabinet and negotiate more coronavirus relief all at the same time.
"The Senate must and will do all three; COVID relief; confirmation of nominees and impeachment trial," Schumer said. He said the Senate's "first order of business" is to confirm more Biden nominees, including Lloyd Austin for secretary of defense on Friday. Austin was confirmed by a vote of 93-2 shortly after the leaders wrapped their remarks.
"The Senate will also conduct a second impeachment trial," Schumer added, addressing some Republicans who have said a Senate cannot hold an impeachment trial after a president has left office.
"Make no mistake, a trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote to convict the president," Schumer said, saying any argument otherwise "defies basic common sense."
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.