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Why doesn't Biden talk about the possible impeachment of Trump?


There is no blueprint for a sitting president when a predecessor is accused of a crime, and advisers see risks ahead of a re-election campaign.

By Peter Nicholas -

NBC News

WASHINGTON — So far this week, President Joe Biden has announced new measures to conserve land and water.

He met with the cast of the television series

Ted Lasso

to discuss mental health and published a 500-page report on the economy.

Missing was any acknowledgment of the drama that has paralyzed much of Washington: the possible criminal indictment of his past and potentially future rival, Donald Trump.

There is no blueprint for what a sitting president should do when a predecessor is accused of a crime, something that has never happened in the country's history.

Biden's approach, for now, has been to keep quiet and avoid an impromptu press conference that threatens to drag him down, according to Democratic strategists and people close to the White House.

[Trump's lawyer in the classified papers case will testify before a grand jury]

An impeachment by Trump could create a thorny set of temptations and pitfalls for a sitting president on the cusp of a re-election campaign.

Democrats close to Biden see Trump as one of the big favorites to be the Republican nominee in 2024, and a flawed candidate they want to take on in a general election.

A common move in campaigns at any level is to amplify the problems of rivals: the temptation to talk endlessly about the legal problems that beset Trump.

But Biden must be reticent given his position, legal experts have warned.

He named Merrick Garland, the attorney general who will ultimately decide whether he prosecutes Trump in a separate federal investigation stemming from his handling of classified documents and his efforts to reverse the 2020 election results.

What role does the grand jury play in the case targeting Trump?

March 23, 202301:28

Any comments by Biden about Trump's growing legal troubles could be interpreted as an attempt to influence Garland.

“If Trump is indicted by a state grand jury, Biden would do well not to comment on that criminal case, in part because there is an ongoing federal investigation carried out by a special counsel within the Department of Justice,” the legal analyst opined. of NBC News, Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor in Virginia.

Openly trying to profit from the Trump situation could also backfire politically, prompting Biden's critics to try to make more noise about the legal investigation he faces into classified documents.

[DeSantis attacks prosecutor investigating whether Trump paid porn actress but says he has "real issues to deal with"]

What's more, by speaking out, Biden risks fueling Trump's version that the investigations are an underhanded attempt to undermine his presidential bid, Democrats say.

Prior to the impeachment, Trump sent out fundraising emails making that argument.

“It would be smart for the Democrats to let this play out and not politicize it too much,” said Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist and adviser to Pete Buttigieg's 2020 presidential campaign. “If they jump on all this, they hit Donald Trump and the Republicans the opportunity to say that this is a witch hunt,” he added.

A Biden adviser argued that the election is too far away to gauge the impact of an impeachment against Trump.

Biden will focus on economic issues, beefing up his budget proposals and criticizing those of conservative Republicans who he says jeopardize Social Security and Medicare.

President Joe Biden in Washington DC on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

However, the White House is keeping an eye on possible protests that could result from an impeachment.

Privately, White House officials have expressed relief that Trump's calls for protests over the weekend have faded.

[Trump's Republican allies wrap up the former president in the face of a possible criminal charge against him]

John Kirby, Biden's national security spokesman, told a news conference this week that "we're constantly monitoring this — as you might think we should, especially in the light of what happened on January 6."

Normally, when a candidate is accused, it is assumed that his path to victory will be more difficult.

Some political pundits have argued that Trump - who has repeatedly seemed adept at defying political gravity - might be the exception.

But several Biden allies said they don't expect Biden to enjoy a political windfall beyond an increase in small-money donations.

An impeachment would not change anyone's opinion of Trump, given his notoriety and how views of him have hardened in both directions, they said.

Polls by NBC News, sister network to Noticias Telemundo, suggest that no matter what the provocation, Trump's favorability ratings are barely budging.

After the FBI searched classified documents at Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in August, for example, his overall score remained basically the same: in the mid-30s. 

“People who think he's an outlaw think he's an outlaw whether he's charged or not,” said Amanda Loveday, former aide to Rep. Jim Clyburn, South Carolina, and Unite the Country adviser. , a group that promotes Biden's political agenda.

“People who don't believe it's illegal don't believe it is even if they get charged.

Trump is one of those really special politicians where you believe what you want to believe about him, be it fact or fiction," she explained.

[Trump wants protests over his possible impeachment.

But a Republican leader disagrees]

Biden has not yet made his candidacy official, although those close to him continue to suggest that it is inevitable that he will run.

But until he says the magic words, there will always be speculation that he might choose to step aside, a debate that could escalate if Trump's candidacy appears irreparably damaged.

At 80, Biden has faced skepticism within his party.

A poll conducted last month by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 37% of Democrats wanted him to run for another term.

One event that pushed Biden to run in 2020 was the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Trump later said there were “very good people” on both sides of that notorious event, words Biden said motivated him to be a counterforce.

But even with his initial motivation gone, that may not mean Biden is ready to retire.

Carolyn Maloney, a former Democratic congresswoman from New York, was one of those who appeared doubtful of a Biden re-election campaign.

Before she lost her congressional seat last year, she said she didn't think Biden would run again.

Now asked if Trump's baggage could push Biden out of the race, Maloney, who is 77, said she has earned another term.

“She's cooking with gas, man!

I have never seen a track record like that,” she said.

He stated that, having met many people who live productive lives despite their old age, “you have to realize that there is a change in the health of Americans.

Americans live longer." 

"If you look at Biden," he added, "he's too busy to die."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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