ABC, NBC Try to Sweep Away Joe Biden’s Vow to Obstruct Congress

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On Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden vowed to not comply with any subpoena to testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump. Such an action could be classified as obstruction of Congress, the same thing Trump was being impeached for. Biden began to backpedal over the weekend and he was aided in that effort by ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Sunday Today. Both used Biden’s “promise” to appoint former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court as a smokescreen.

After huffing about President Trump retweeting a post that identified the shady, Democrat-connected whistleblower who started the impeachment process, NBC correspondent Hans Nichols whined about how “the specter of a potential Senate impeachment trial spilling onto the campaign trail with former Vice President Joe Biden adding conditions to when he would honor a Senate subpoena.”

Earlier, Biden took to Twitter to ‘clarify’ his Friday comments that he'll not answer a Senate impeachment subpoena,” Nichols added for Biden before quoting the former VP. “‘I have always complied with a lawful order and I cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight. This impeachment is about Trump's conduct and not mine.’”

At the end of his report, Nichols deployed the smokescreen: “It was not all subpoena questions for Biden. He was asked if he would nominate former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court. His answer, yes, if he’d take it.”

Meanwhile, over on Good Morning America, ABC co-anchor Whit Johnson initially teased Biden’s subpoena snafu ahead of a report by correspondent Rachel Scott. But when they started to discuss news about Biden, Johnson tried to divert attention to the Obama announcement and appeared to throw off Scott, who changed the topic back to impeachment (click “expand”):

 

 

WHIT JOHNSON: And Rachel, Biden out campaigning in Iowa and got a question that's getting a lot of buzz, about whether he would appoint former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court.

RACHEL SCOTT: Yeah, the former Vice President said he would if he would take it. But Joe Biden is also getting some questions about whether he would testify in the President Trump's Senate trial. And the former Vice President has had to clarify where he has stood on this. First, he said that he would not comply with Congress. He stood by that decision, but then after taking some heat and getting some more questions about this, he is appeared to walk this back.

Moments later, ABC co-anchor Dan Harris introduced chief White House correspondent Jon Karl and they made it clear which Biden story the preferred to keep the focus on. “Let's start with the promise that Joe Biden apparently made to appoint Barack Obama to the Supreme Court! I got a two-part question for you. One, is this idea a political winner? And Two, would Barack Obama even want this job,” Harris gushed.

Let’s loopback. Speaking of the Senate, to the issue of whether Biden would comply with a subpoena to testify in President Trump's Senate trial. Theoretically, I wonder, if Biden were compelled to testify, how do you imagine that would impact his campaign? Could it help or hurt,” Harris eventually wondered.

Karl didn’t think Obama would accept the offer because, “he is enjoying life post-presidency,” citing the former President’s deals with Netflix and Spotify. He also wasn’t worried about Biden being called to testify since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “has made it clear he would like to see no witnesses at all.”

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America
December 29, 2019
8:13:26 a.m. Eastern

(…)

WHIT JOHNSON: And Rachel, Biden out campaigning in Iowa and got a question that's getting a lot of buzz, about whether he would appoint former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court.

RACHEL SCOTT: Yeah, the former Vice President said he would if he would take it. But Joe Biden is also getting some questions about whether he would testify in the President Trump's Senate trial. And the former Vice President has had to clarify where he has stood on this.

First, he said that he would not comply with Congress. He stood by that decision, but then after taking some heat and getting some more questions about this, he is appeared to walk this back. He said he would now obey any subpoena issued to him, but insists that the focus should be on President Trump's conduct, not his.

Now, President Trump has insisted that he wants to hear from Joe Biden and his son Hunter in a trial. But again, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not made a firm decision on whether witnesses should testify. The timeline, the scope, the structure of a trial still up in the air at this point as we inch closer to the New Year. Whit?

(…)

DAN HARRIS: Let's start with the promise that Joe Biden apparently made to appoint Barack Obama to the Supreme Court! I got a two-part question for you. One, is this idea a political winner? And Two, would Barack Obama even want this job?

JON KARL: Well, in terms of the politics of it, look, Biden has done everything he can to embrace Obama, pitching his candidacy as basically Obama 2.0. But would Barack Obama accept a nomination to the Supreme Court? Dan, I covered him in the White House. I have got to say that there's no way. I would be shocked if he would even consider it.

Remember, Obama has his Netflix deal. He’s got a deal with Spotify on podcast. He is enjoying life post-presidency. I think the last thing in the world that Barack Obama would want to face right now would be a Senate confirmation hearing. The idea of going before the Senate and answering questions and dealing with all that, I think there's no way he would want to go through that, even with a Supreme Court appointment at the end of the tunnel.

HARRIS: Fair enough. Let’s loopback. Speaking of the Senate, to the issue of whether Biden would comply with a subpoena to testify in President Trump's Senate trial. Theoretically I wonder, if Biden were compelled to testify, how do you imagine that would impact his campaign? Could it help or hurt?

KARL: Well, first of all, I think it is not likely. I mean, McConnell has made it clear he would like to see no witnesses at all. And I don't think he wants to see the Senate trial turn into something of a circus, which it would be, I think, if you started to bring in the Bidens.

But if he were to testify, look, this is not a good story for Biden at all. Even – Even with no evidence of wrong-doing regarding Ukraine on Biden's behalf, there is, at the very least, an appearance of impropriety by seeing his son appointed to the position he had in the Ukrainian oil company while Biden was the administration's point person in Ukraine.

(…)

 

NBC Sunday Today
December 29, 2019
8:06:39 a.m. Eastern

(…)

HANS NICHOLS: The president taking aim at the alleged whistleblower, retweeting a post late Friday night that revealed his identity. Meanwhile, the specter of a potential Senate impeachment trial spilling onto the campaign trail with former Vice President Joe Biden adding conditions to when he would honor a Senate subpoena.

JOE BIDEN: I will honor whatever the Congress, in fact, legitimately ask me to do.

NICHOLS: Earlier, Biden took to Twitter to “clarify” his Friday comments that he'll not answer a Senate impeachment subpoena. “I have always complied with a lawful order and I cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight. This impeachment is about Trump's conduct and not mine.”

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

NICHOLAS: And Willie. It was not all subpoena questions for Biden. He was asked if he would nominate former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court. His answer, yes, if he’d take it. Willie.

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