Biden’s strategy for Trump’s impeachment: Sit back and STFU

What is the impeachment trial really about? Playbook’s Rachel Bade says it’s more about convincing the American public — not lawmakers — that Trump should never be able to hold office again.

“He will not spend much time watching the proceedings — if any time — over the course of this week,” Psaki said. “He will leave the pace, and the process and the mechanics of the impeachment proceedings up to members of Congress.”

Reporters pressed Psaki on how Biden could tell CBS News that Trump was too unstable to receive intelligence briefings but not weigh in on whether he should be stripped of the ability to run for office again — which could potentially be the end result of a Senate conviction.

“Well, he ran against him because he felt he was unfit for office and he defeated him, and that’s why he’s no longer president — Trump is no longer president of the United States,” Psaki said. “So I think his views of the former president are pretty clear. But he’s going to leave it to the Senate to see this impeachment proceedings forward.”

Biden world’s determination to not get side-tracked by Trumpian distractions is reminiscent of the strategy they adopted on the campaign trail. It was one that centered on sticking with the core message,shunned the Twitter conversation, and resisting calls to adopt the posture and temperament of the left.

Even during Trump’s first impeachment, Biden was among the last of a sprawling Democratic campaign field to call for a probe, despite the fact that he himself was central to the subject matter. Trump then was under scrutiny for applying pressure to Ukraine’s president to probe Biden’s political involvement and his son Hunter’s business dealings in that country.

Another outside adviser said that Biden has juggled the risks of having a current president weighing in on the actions of a former president, and feels wary of exacerbating political divisions. “Biden is still an institutionalist,” said the adviser, noting that the president is likely asking: “‘If I say anything, is it going to make it even more horrible for the country?’”

Republicans have cast the latest impeachment trial as a worthless political exercise, given that Democrats don’t have the votes to convict. They also plan to argue on Tuesday that it is unconstitutional to impeach a former president.

With the outcome preordained, Finney argued that should Biden hype Trump’s impeachment, he would only risk creating unnecessary political waves with the segment of America that still supports the former president.

“It’s recognizing there are people who are still in varying stages of grief about Trump,” she said of Biden’s restraint on talking impeachment politics. Finney said Biden is better off sending those voters a different message: “A lot of those folks who may have voted for Trump and are in red states, he’s trying to save their lives too.”