As though she hasn’t been busy enough flying among the four early voting states in her campaign for for president, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will add another high-profile duty this starting Tuesday: impeachment juror.
Klobuchar is one of three remaining presidential candidates who are also members of the U.S. Senate, where the formal trial of President Donald Trump will begin Tuesday afternoon. That means she, along with U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, will be in Washington, D.C. for a historic duty, but one that will also take her away from campaigning — just weeks before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
The other leading Democratic candidates — former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — have no such restrictions on their time.
During her speech to a First Avenue rally Friday night, held on the first day of early voting in the Minnesota presidential primary, Klobuchar said she would depend on her family and Minnesota supporters to help the campaign while she is in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t know how many days this is gonna last,” she said. “I just know that I have a constitutional duty to do my job.”
“I just want you to think: What can I do for Amy today?” she said.
She later added: “I am a mom. I can do two things at once.”
Speaking to reporters afterward, Klobuchar said she doesn’t know what the impeachment schedule will be, adding that during the 1998 trial of President Bill Clinton, there were days when nothing was scheduled but that there was often little advance notice of when that would happen. “We’ll have to figure it out,” she said.
Some of the timing will depend on whether the Senate hears from witnesses, which she said she thinks it should. (“The last time I checked, you can’t have a trial without witnesses and evidence,” she said during her rally speech.)
“There is more and more stuff coming out and it would be really troubling if they didn’t have witnesses,” she said.
But she agreed that the trial will be a challenge for her campaign, more so than the snow and wind storm that might have kept supporters away from the Friday rally. “What I’m going to do is just keep going whenever I can, back to the early states,” she said. “I don’t need a lot of sleep, which is good.”
Klobuchar said she makes up for having less money than other candidates by making campaign appearances, up to 10 per day, and that her campaign would use telephone town halls and Skype to supplement appearances by her family and surrogates.
A recent New Hampshire poll had her in fifth place, at 10 percent, and she said she is adding endorsements in the first primary state, where she has already qualified for a Feb. 7 debate. She wasn’t aware of it when she took the stage Friday night, but she was co-endorsed Sunday along with Warren by the New York Times. After the Minneapolis rally Friday night, she left for yet another trip to Iowa.
On Monday, Klobuchar attended a Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration in South Carolina while her husband John Bessler and daughter Abigail Bessler attended a holiday event in New Hampshire. After Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are the next states to hold their nominating contests; then comes Super Tuesday, on March 3, when 14 states — including Minnesota — will have primaries.
For all the drawbacks, Klobuchar acknowledged that are also political advantages to being a juror in the impeachment. A lot of public and media attention will be on the U.S. Senate, and she has been invited on national television programs because of her role in the trial, not as a candidate.
“That is going to be the big focus,” she said of the trial.
Klobuchar is also the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, where many of the battles over the proceedings could take place, including a rule that will keep news media away from parts of the Capitol where they have commonly had access.