Sen. Michael Bennet said Thursday that he wouldn’t allow his own vice president’s children to make foreign business dealings like those made by Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, as he laid down a warning for Democrats seeking to impeach President Donald Trump.
“I think it’d be better not to have that kind of an arrangement, and it’d be better not to give speeches to Goldman Sachs,” Bennet said in an hour-long interview in POLITICO’s newsroom. “It’d be better for people just to be public servants.”
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The Colorado Democrat, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination, also suggested that Biden will need to show that the Ukraine flap will not be a political weakness against Trump in 2020. Trump has made unsubstantiated charges that Biden interfered in a Ukrainian investigation into a company that had his son on its board of directors. Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens in a phone call earlier this year.
“This is all going to come up in the context of the underlying question, which is, who can beat Donald Trump?” Bennet said. “This will all get litigated. I’m confident that when it has the scrutiny it will have, the vice president will make his case.”
On the allegations against Hunter Biden, Bennet said that there was no merit to them “based on what I know,” calling Trump’s focus on it a distraction.
“Today what I think it is is distracting us from where we should be focused, which is on Donald Trump calling up a foreign leader and telling him to investigate one of his political opponents,” Bennet said. “No matter what Hunter Biden did, it’s hard for me to imagine that it’s not one million times more benign than that.”
But Bennet criticized Democrats who “on the day the complaint is being released” are already concluding that the president should be impeached over his actions on Ukraine. Bennet warned that Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against Trump may backfire on the party, if it “doesn’t reflect a commitment to due process.”
Nearly all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have called for Trump’s impeachment, either after the Mueller report released earlier this spring or ahead of the Ukraine whistleblower’s complaint released Thursday morning. This week, the White House released a memo describing the conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday afternoon that the House would begin impeachment proceedings against the president.
If impeachment proceedings feels like “a thoughtful process and the American people are brought along with it, as they were with the Watergate process, then I think we’ll be fine,” Bennet said. “We can’t be cavalier about it.”
Bennet, who’s running as a moderate alternative to more left-leaning candidates in the Democratic primary, defined what he saw as a key difference between himself and Biden’s candidacy: “His view of the world is that if we just get rid of Donald Trump, we’re all going to go back to normal and I just completely disagree with that,” he said.
“Trump, in my view, is a symptom of a lot of problems,” he said.