POLITICO: '99 Biden Argued Against Witnesses In Impeachment Trial Memo
Biden's 1999 4-page memo:
Biden argued against witnesses in 1999 impeachment trial memo
The comments from the then-senator are at odds with current Democratic arguments.
01/30/2020 08:36 PM EST
Updated: 01/30/2020 09:07 PM EST
In January 1999, then-Sen. Joe Biden argued strongly against the need to depose additional witnesses or seek new evidence in a memo sent to fellow Democrats ahead of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
Biden circulated the four-page document, titled “Arguments in Support of a Summary Impeachment Trial,” on Jan. 5, 1999. In his memo, obtained by POLITICO, Biden cited historical precedents from impeachment cases going back to the establishment of the Senate and asserted “The Senate need not hold a ‘full-blown’ trial.
“The Senate may dismiss articles of impeachment without holding a full trial or taking new evidence. Put another way, the Constitution does not impose on the Senate the duty to hold a trial,” Biden wrote at the time.
The Delaware Democrat added later: “In a number of previous impeachment trials, the Senate has reached the judgment that its constitutional role as a sole trier of impeachments does not require it to take new evidence or hear live witness testimony.”
Along with his son Hunter, Biden has become a primary target for Republicans in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Biden is also a frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.