Patrick Semansky / AP
A Biden government official downplays the prospect of an expanded impeachment trial hindering President Biden’s legislative agenda – suggesting the trial itself will not proceed in the Senate if witnesses are deposed, which does legislative business like the Covid-19 aid package would allow progress as hoped.
The official said they continue to hope that the Covid-19 aid will be passed by mid-March when unemployment benefits expire. And they continue to believe that the Senate can both conduct impeachment proceedings and consider laws at the same time.
However, extending the process will mean former President Trump will remain the center of attention for a while, at least some White House aides had hoped he would be put in the rearview mirror. Officials had said they were hoping for a speedy trial to end the Trump era for good.
At the very least, continued fixation on Trump and his actions will crowd out Biden’s planned debut trips to the country to advance his agenda next week, including his CNN City Hall on Tuesday and a tour of the Pfizer Michigan facility on Thursday.
CNN also reached out to Vice President Kamala Harris’s office for a response, and one official said, “The Vice President’s office referred all questions to the Senate as this is a Senate procedural matter on witness and timing.”