Impeachment trial’s political impact on presidential candidates

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl discusses Joe Biden’s possible role in the trial, and weighs in on Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
5:36 | 01/24/20

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Transcript for Impeachment trial’s political impact on presidential candidates
Jonathan Karl. Meghan, you have a question? Yeah, I was just actually wondering about the political impact of the impeachment trial on the four senators who are running for president because they're obviously going to have to go back to Washington D.C. I think -- and this is just my personal opinion. I think it helps Biden and I think it helps people like mayor Pete, but how impacted will these candidates be given it's so close to the Iowa caucus? It's incredible to see four of them stuck in the senate and not able to use it as a platform because they can't speak. They're off camera. You don't hear from them. That said, Bernie Sanders has a huge ground game out in Iowa. He's going to be out there Saturday with AOC. It might not hurt him as much as the others because he's already got a big operation out there. But Biden, the president's legal team is going to use their three days, assuming they use all three days, to try to eviscerate Biden, hunter Biden, over all of that. They will have three days unanswered because it's now their turn to go in and go after Biden brutally and it's going to be a huge -- How many times can you say he got the job because of his father, over and over and over again. They thought it was repetitious this week. Wait until we have to listen to these idiots. They're going to use this. They're going to use this as a platform. So we'll see, how do people react to that. Why wouldn't Joe Biden just say, okay, they want me in exchange for Bolton, I'll do it. I'll take one for the team, and yes, you know what, my last name did help my kid got a job and which one of you senators here don't have a spouse or a kid who's working somewhere. How about Mitch Mcconnell's wife. Biden has made it absolutely clear he does not want to take part in this. Why? He thinks he's been smeared by the president. He's got family history that brings up painful memories. Biden does not want to be a part of this. I think he would do a great job. And he's not a material witness. He can't testify to anything that happened on the call with Ukraine. He can't testify to any of that. The thing is did the Democrats give an opening, did the Democrats preemptively try to get ahead of of this and say Biden did nothing wrong, these allegations are completely unfounded. Does that give an opening for the president's team to say well, let me explain why that's wrong. What should we expect to hear from trump's lawyers when they take over the defense? Have you heard anything about their strategy? Because we do have the chief justice sitting there. It's a very somber proceeding, and I suspect that while president trump likes the TV lawyer atmosphere, that vitriol, I don't think chief justice Roberts is going to stand for that kind of presentation. He's already admonished both sides once but I think the president's team will come out very aggressively. First of all they'll say what he did wasn't wrong and they'll say even if he did what you're alleging is not impeachable and certainly not worth removing him and then they will go after Joe Biden. They'll use clips and it will be a show. It will be much shorter though. They're not going to use all 24 hours. Yesterday senator Marcia Blackburn from Tennessee spent hours, tweeted out and sent hours on TV attacking vindman, Alexander vindman, questioned his patriotism. This is a guy who has a purple heart because of the injuries he received in the Iraq war. He still has shrapnel in his body. His parents are soviet Jews who fled come youism. I can't explain how angry I am about that. You want to call in his judgment, fine. But for somebody that's never served in the military, for somebody that's a Republican -- we used to be pro military -- to have the gull in order to defend a president who pretended to have bone spurs in order not to serve, to me, I question her patriotism and her sanity. What is going on? It's a risky thing to do. We saw colonel vindman served in the Iraq war, he's a decorated veteran. Remember he testified in his uniform and one of the Republicans questioned why are you wearing your uniform. The hypocrisy -- Is it similar to what Hillary Clinton did to Tulsi gabbard and she's now suing Hillary Clinton because she said it's done real damage. I think it is a trend. It is certainly a trend. Let me ask you this, Marcia Blackburn, senator Blackburn, also was reading a book and tweeted out that she was reading a book during the hearings. Is that something that she could be penalized for as opposed to paying attention to the hearings? If you believe the admonishments from the sergeant the arms, you could be imprisoned for such a thing. But look, the rules say you can't have electronic devices. You have to check those no it says you can't have extraneous materials, reading materials, but all the senators -- One of the senators was playing poker on his phone one time and my dad saw it. It happened in 1999 too. I remember looking down and seeing people doodling, reading reported. I loved how Lindsey graham took off when they put his picture up and showed what a hypocrite he was. Bathroom breaks, convenient bathroom breaks. There are urinary tract infections I guess. Thanks to ABC news chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl. He'll be back to tell us about his upcoming book, front row at the trump row.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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