Analysis: Biden's bipartisan goals will be complicated by impeachment
Jan 23, 2021 2 mins, 1 sec

The looming trial -- which has the potential to inflame partisan divisions just as quickly as Biden was trying to squelch them -- offers no visible upside to a President who was elected on his promise to bring the warring parties of Washington together and forge compromise in a Capitol that has been defined by strife.

The hopes that Biden could bring a different tone to Washington -- which were so bright on Inauguration Day -- were complicated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement that the House would deliver the impeachment article charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate on Monday evening.

Biden underscored that point Friday when asked whether he favored Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's timeline for a mid-February impeachment trial.

"The more time we have to get up and running and meet these crises, the better," Biden replied at the end of a White House event about executive actions on the economy.

Senate unlikely to convict

Biden has been circumspect on whether he believes there is any point to holding a Senate impeachment trial for a President who has already left office, answering virtually every question by stating that he will leave the timing and mechanics of a trial up to Senate leaders.

Though there is disagreement among rank-and-file Republicans about how Trump should be punished for his role in the riot -- with conviction dangling the possibility that Trump could be barred from holding federal office in the future — many Republicans are now also questioning whether it is constitutional to try a president who has already left office.

Swearing in his new employees, Biden told them that if he heard them disrespecting or talking down to another colleague, he would fire them on the spot — underscoring that he believes everyone deserves to be treated with the dignity and decency that has been "missing in a big way the past four years." Aside from that comment, when given the chance to take a shot at Trump, he has generally avoided it -- describing the letter the former President left him, for example, as "generous."

Biden alienated some Republicans this week by seeking to undo some of Trump's most controversial policies through executive actions -- halting construction of the wall at the US-Mexico border, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, rejoining the Paris climate accord and rescinding Trump's ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries.


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