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Sanders Says Trump Trial Creates ‘Disadvantage’: Campaign Update

Ryan Teague Beckwith

(Bloomberg) -- Bernie Sanders on Friday lamented that being stuck in Washington for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is putting him “at a disadvantage“ to former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa.

In an interview with “The CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell,” the Vermont senator said it was “disappointing” his “constitutional responsibility” to sit through the Senate trial is keeping him off the campaign trail in the final days before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.

“I mean, he and others, not just Biden, are able to go out, talk to people,” he said in the interview to be broadcast Friday evening. “That’s really important.”

In recent weeks, Sanders and Biden have been at the top of most polls in Iowa. Talking up a disadvantage gives Sanders an excuse if he doesn’t do as well as expected, or an extra reason to brag if he does. “We had set up a number of town meetings all over the state,” he said. “We usually bring out good crowds. So it is disappointing to me not to be in Iowa talking to the people there.”

Other senators running for the Democratic nomination are also missing out on face time in Iowa to sit through the impeachment trial, including Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

Biden, Bloomberg Hit Trump on Military Brass (3:13 p.m.)

A new book on President Donald Trump includes some doozies about his behavior in office, but it’s an account of him calling military brass “a bunch of dopes and babies” that’s making a splash on the campaign trail.

Both former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have criticized Trump over a report in the forthcoming book “A Very Stable Genius.”

At a campaign stop in Claremont, New Hampshire, Biden expressed incredulity. “He referred to these incredible generals and flag officers -- many of whom have left and publicly criticized him -- referred to these flag officers we now learn as quote ‘losers, dopes and babies’ to their face, in front of their folks,” he said.

Trump has denied the account, calling the authors of the book -- Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker -- “two stone cold losers” who are “demeaning and belittling a President who is getting great things done for our country.”

The account is also the subject of a recent TV ad from Bloomberg, which calls the military officials in the room as “war heroes” who had “risked their lives for our country.” Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Warren Defends Student Loan Plan (10:54 a.m.)

Elizabeth Warren Friday brushed off concerns expressed in a viral clip of a so-called “angry dad” who argued that her student loan forgiveness plan rewards irresponsible behavior.

In a clip shared on an anonymous pro-Trump Twitter account Tuesday and amplified by conservative media, an unnamed man tells Warren that he gave up vacations and saved money for his daughter’s education so that she wouldn’t have debt. “We did the right thing and we get screwed,” he said of her plan.

Asked about the clip in an interview on “CBS This Morning,” Warren responded that younger Americans are getting “crushed” by student loan debt, which is roughly $1.5 trillion.

”Look, we build a future going forward by making it better,” she said. “By that same logic what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn’t start it last week for you or last month for you?”

COMING UP:

Some of the Democratic candidates will debate again in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11. Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.

CNN will host town halls featuring eight presidential candidates in New Hampshire on Feb. 5 and 6.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

--With assistance from Emma Kinery.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Magan Crane, Max Berley

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