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Carper: Donald Trump is afraid of losing to Joe Biden

Meredith Newman
Delaware News Journal
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Sen. Tom Carper said Friday that any testimony from Hunter Biden would be irrelevant in the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“We do need to hear from folks who have information about the charges,” Carper said at a press conference in his Wilmington office, “whether this president sought to bribe another president of another country to come up with dirt, essentially to falsify the case of one of his primary opponents.

“Donald Trump is fearful of losing to Joe Biden,” he said.

Just the day before, the U.S. senators were sworn into their roles as jurors for the Senate impeachment trial of the president, the third in the country’s history. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial, which begins Tuesday.

Carper said he wants to hear from the four witnesses Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has publicly called to testify: former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Senior Adviser to the Acting White House Chief of Staff Robert Blair, Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

He added that he would like to hear from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani. In an interview this week with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Parnas said the president “knew exactly what was going on” in Ukraine.

The articles of impeachment revolve around the allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, while withholding military aid.

Trump and his supporters have said he had the power to do this. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan government watchdog, said in a report released Thursday that the White House budget office violated federal law when it withheld funds that Congress appropriated to provide security assistance for Ukraine.

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For the president to be removed from office requires a two-thirds majority Senate vote. Right now, the Republicans control the chamber by six seats.

Carper said he is “trying very hard” to be an impartial juror. From the beginning of the impeachment inquiry this fall, both Carper and Sen. Chris Coons expressed support for an impeachment inquiry, but stopped short of saying the president should be removed from office.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, the state’s lone congresswoman, voted for the articles of impeachment in December. Carper said he agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay sending the articles to the Senate.

“We needed time to really share with the American people why it’s so important to have witnesses,” he said.

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When the articles of impeachment were read on the Senate floor Thursday, Carper described it as a sobering moment. He said he could feel his colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, take in the gravity of the situation.

“I never imagined in my life I would see our democracy, our form of government, threatened as it is today,” Carper said.

The senior senator said the president has a right to a fair trial, including the right of presumed innocence.

When asked if his eventual vote will be the most important decision he’s made while in public office, Carper said “this is probably way more important than anything else.”

“Not just for this country,” he added, “but the other countries who look to the United States to lead. And we need to lead by example.”

Contact Meredith Newman at 302-324-2386 or mnewman@delawareonline.com and on Twitter @MereNewman.

Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Former Vice President Joe Biden smiles while visiting with Gov. John Carney and Sen. Tom Carper during the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Delaware Memorial Bridge Veterans Memorial Park. (Photo: Jennifer Corbett, Delaware News Journal)