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"Let's Be Clear About Who Is Rigging What": Bernie Sanders Denounces Trump Effort to Divide Democrats

2020 candidate says only reason for impeachment trial is president's effort to "use the power of the federal government for his own political benefit."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at Berg Middle School on January 11, 2020 in Newton, Iowa. A recent poll has Sanders with a narrow lead in the state ahead of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses being held on February 3. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was expected to campaign with Sanders at the event but was not able to attend because of weather. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at Berg Middle School on January 11, 2020 in Newton, Iowa. A recent poll has Sanders with a narrow lead in the state ahead of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses being held on February 3. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was expected to campaign with Sanders at the event but was not able to attend because of weather. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

After President Donald Trump earlier in the day accused Democrats in Congress of "rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders," the 2020 presidential candidate shot back Friday evening to say the president's effort to divide Democrats would be unsuccessful.

"Let's be clear about who is rigging what," Sanders said in a statement. "It is Donald Trump's action to use the power of the federal government for his own political benefit that is the cause of the impeachment trial. His transparent attempts to divide Democrats will not work, and we are going to unite to sweep him out of the White House in November."

In a tweet, Trump said it was "very unfair" to make Sanders stop campaigning in the week's prior to the first primary election, "but that's the way the Democrats play the game." In any event, Trump, "It's a lot of fun to watch."

While it's true that the impeachment trial against Trump in the Senate will keep Sanders—as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—off the campaign trail in the crucial weeks ahead of the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3, Sanders told reporters in Washington, D.C. Thursday that while he would rather be talking to potential voters in key early states, "I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job, and I'm here to do my job."

Sanders said that even with the importance of the trial before the Senate, "we cannot forget the very serious problems facing the American people."

"While we go forward with this impeachment trial," he added, "I hope the American people understand that we have not forgotten that in this country, outside of Washington, D.C., today, there are millions of people who are struggling economically, millions of people who cannot afford their prescription drugs or their health care."

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