Biden Clarifies Position on Impeachment Trial: Campaign Update

Ros Krasny

(Bloomberg) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden clarified his position on a suggestion he wouldn’t comply with a potential subpoena to testify at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

“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,” Biden said in a Facebook post on Saturday, which was also issued as a series of tweets.

There’s no legal basis for Republican subpoenas that would compel his testimony at the impeachment trial, said the 2020 presidential hopeful, who’s campaigning in Iowa.

On Friday, Biden said in an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board that any testimony he could provide would just distract from the charges that Trump abused the power of the presidency by pressuring Ukraine to smear him.

“That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine,” he said on Facebook. “The subpoenas should go to witnesses with testimony to offer to Trump’s shaking down the Ukraine government -- they should go to the White House.”

Financial Industry Among Biden’s Big Bundlers (11:16 a.m.)

Biden’s campaign late Friday released the names of more than 250 individuals who’ve raised at least $25,000 for his campaign, including trial lawyers, real estate developers and financial industry figures.

He follows Pete Buttigieg, who released a list of his so-called “bundlers” -- people who tap their professional and personal networks to donate to a campaign -- on Dec. 13, in response to criticism from Elizabeth Warren, who raises the bulk of her funds from small-dollar donors. Bernie Sanders, the top fundraiser among Democrats, also relies on grassroots donors.

Trial lawyers, long a pillar in Democratic fundraising, were the backbone of Biden’s fundraising operation, with 32 partners in firms specializing in personal injury, product liability and other plaintiff suits backing the Democratic front-runner. They include Perry Weitz and Alan Luxenberg of Weitz & Luxenberg; Russell Budd of Baron & Budd; and Florida-based litigator John Morgan, whose firm’s attorneys are the top source of campaign money for Biden, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, at $424,090.

The financial industry was also a source of support. Alan Patricof of venture capital firm Greycroft Partners LLC and Michael Sacks, chairman and chief executive officer of advisory firm Grosvenor Capital Management LP, held events for Biden. Goldman Sachs alumnae Eric Mindich, now at Eton Park Capital Management, and Sanjeev Mehra of Periphas Capital LP also bundled for the former vice president.

Bruce Mosler, chairman of global brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield, and Los Angeles-based developer Sean Burton were among the more than 25 fundraisers who come from the real estate industry. Other prominent figures were film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, former Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. -- Bill Allison

COMING UP:

Biden is campaigning in Iowa on Saturday and moves on to New Hampshire on Sunday and Monday. Senator Bernie Sanders is Iowa next week. Warren is campaigning in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday. Buttigieg is in Iowa Saturday through Monday.

Five Democratic candidates -- Warren, Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar have qualified for the next debate, on Jan. 14, in Iowa.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ros Krasny in Washington at rkrasny1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Steve Geimann

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