News and Commentary

Biden Declares He Won’t Comply With Subpoena, Fears Media Reaction To His Testimony. Now He’s Trying To Walk It Back.
TIPTON, IOWA - DECEMBER 28: Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop at Tipton High School on December 28, 2019 in Tipton, Iowa. The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses will take place on February 3, 2020, in the first nominating contest for the Democratic Party in choosing their presidential candidate to face Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tried to walk back comments that he made this week when he declared that he would not comply with a Senate subpoena in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which involves alleged Biden corruption in Ukraine.

Biden made the remarks during an interview with The Des Moines Register on Friday when he was asked, “Do you stand by your earlier statements that you wouldn’t comply if you were subpoenaed to testify in an impeachment trial before the Senate?”

“Correct, and the reason I wouldn’t is because it’s all designed to deal with Trump doing what he’s done his whole life: trying to take the focus off him,” Biden responded. “The issue is not what I did, not a single person, not one single person, even that thug Giuliani and his compatriots, have said I did anything other than my job.”

“Every one of the people whose sworn testimony [unintelligible] for him said Biden did his job and he did it well,” Biden continued. “This is all about a diversion, and we play his game all the time; he’s done it his whole career; he’s done it his whole career, and I’m very proud of the job I did. I never, never, never moved off of dealing with corruption there.”

Moments later, The Des Moines Register asked Biden, “Doesn’t that position you as if you’re defying a subpoena – putting yourself above the law?”

Biden responded, “Well look, the grounds for them to call me would be overwhelmingly specious but, so, I don’t anticipate that happening anyway.”

Biden then revealed that the reason he does not want to comply with the subpoena is that he is worried about how the media would cover what he said in his testimony.

“But what it would do if I went – let’s say I voluntarily just said, let me go make my case, what are you gonna cover?” Biden continued. “You guys, instead of [focusing], you’re gonna cover for three weeks anything I said, and he’s going to get away. You guys buy into it all the time. Not a joke. Think about it. As we say in my church – examine your conscience. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t testify if you thought I should, but think what it’s about. It’s all about what he does all the time, his entire career, take the focus off. This guy violated the Constitution.”


Biden seemingly tried to walk back his comments on Saturday in a series of tweets, which added confusion to his stance on the matter, as he did not definitively say whether or not he would comply with a subpoena.

“I want to clarify something I said yesterday,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “In my 40 years in public life, 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.”

“But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial,” Biden continued. “That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump’s conduct, not mine. 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.”