President-elect Joe Biden plans to leave the impeachment of his predecessor President Donald Trump up to the Senate, incoming Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday morning, hours before Biden was to be sworn in.
"(Biden) served 36 years in the Senate, and he is going to leave it to the Senate, to Democrats and Republicans, to determine what the path forward should be," Psaki told NBC "Today" anchor Savannah Guthrie, just a few hours before Biden's swearing-in.
Biden's role at this point of time, Psaki continued, is in leading the United States and addressing the problems it faces in a "forward-looking way."
"There is an urgency here," she said. "The urgency is getting a package passed to get relief to the American people, to get vaccine money out there, to ensure people are getting checks in their mailboxes. That's where he is going to spend his political capital."
Biden will be engaged with the House and Senate on "a range of activities," Psaki added, but "his focus is going to be on bringing relief to the American people. That's what he thinks he was elected to do."
And when asked if Biden believes Trump committed impeachable offenses, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he thinks that happened in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Psaki reiterated that Biden will leave the matter of the impeachment up to McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other leaders to determine "what steps should be taken to hold the outgoing president accountable."
Meanwhile, Biden is being sworn under unprecedented security after the riots, but Psaki said it will send an "incredibly powerful message" to the country to see Biden being sworn in outside the Capitol, rather than behind closed doors.
"We've taken a number of precautions," she said. "We have heeded the advice and guidance of our security team, of the Secret Service, who have been preparing for this for a year. As you noted, there are 20,000 National Guard troops we're incredibly grateful to, because they are protecting our city and helping keep the president-elect and all of us safe."
However, with there still being many Republicans who do not believe Biden was legally elected, Psaki admitted that unity won't happen overnight.
"Our expectation and hope are that he can lead by example, by reaching across the aisle, by engaging with Republicans as well as Democrats, not just here in Washington," she said. "All of the work of the American people doesn't just happen here, but to mayors, governors, to people who didn't vote for him. What he's pledged is that he will govern for all Americans."
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