December 29, 2019

Joe Biden indicates he would testify in Donald Trump impeachment trial if subpoenaed
Joe Biden, the US presidential hopeful, has indicated he would comply with a subpoena demanding his testimony in Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, reversing a previous insistence he would dismiss any such request.  Mr Biden, the former US vice president seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election, tweeted that during four decades in both Congress and the White House he had “always complied with a lawful order”.  He went a step further while out campaigning in the state of Iowa, telling the audience at a town hall event on Saturday: “I would obey any subpoena that was sent to me”.  The new position contradicts the stance Mr Biden, the Democratic primary front-runner, had taken just a day before, when he insisted he would reject any demand to give evidence in the impeachment trial.  “The reason I wouldn’t is because it’s all designed to deal with Trump doing what he’s done his whole life: trying to take the focus off him,” Mr Biden had told the editorial board of The Des Moines Register on Friday. A trial over whether to remove Donald Trump from office is expect to be held by the US Senate in January Credit: Nicholas Kamm / AFP That original position risked a backlash, given it was Mr Trump’s refusal to comply with subpoenas - legally binding demands for evidence or documents - issued by Congressional committees which fuelled the impeachment drive.  The changing position reflects the difficult Mr Biden faces over impeachment. It was Mr Trump seeking an investigation from Ukraine into Mr Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who once worked for a Ukrainian natural gas company, which triggered the impeachment inquiry.  Mr Biden has made clear his frustration at being asked questions about his behaviour, seeing it as an attempt by the White House to harm his candidacy and distract from Mr Trump's actions in office.  Joe Biden and his son Hunter at a basketball game in 2010 Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass Mr Trump, the US president, has been impeached by the House of Representatives, one half of the US Congress.  The Senate, the other half, is expected to hold a trial in January over whether to remove him from office.  Given the Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Senate they can decide which witnesses are called, if no senators rebel. Some want both Bidens to give evidence. Both Bidens have always denied any wrongdoing in Ukraine.  Mr Biden tweeted: "In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests. “But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial." He added: "This impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine.”
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