Joe Biden is an "excellent" presidential candidate who enters the race with "great advantages," Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed declared.
In an interview for The Takeout Podcast, Reed told CBS News Chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett that Biden's name recognition and Senate record should serve the former vice president well in a crowded primary field. But Reed stopped short of endorsing Biden.
"(Fundraising is) part of the process...he'll have to do that if he wants to be successful," Reed told Garrett, adding that he didn't think Biden's age, 76, would be an issue with voters, especially if he wins the nomination and squares off against 72-year-old President Trump.
Garrett asked whether Reed, a four-term senator and top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, had ever met President Trump or spoken with him. "Not really, no," Reed replied.
Reed's committee oversees the Pentagon's budget. U.S. military expenditures will top $1.4 billion this year and next, a fact the president routinely touts.
Reed also weighed in on special counsel Robert Mueller's report which examined Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election and whether the president obstructed justice.
"I don't think (the Mueller Report) constitutes grounds to begin impeachment proceedings in the formal sense," Reed said, despite calls for impeachment hearings from fellow Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren. "There's much more to be done in terms of investigation."
In 1999, Reed voted to acquit President Clinton on two impeachment charges, including an obstruction charge.
"We haven't seen all the evidence yet," Reed said. "(What does) 'high crimes and misdemeanors' mean? It has no real definition."
This week, the White House refused to allow current and former administration staff testify in certain congressional investigations. Reed said "It suggests there's something there that's embarrassing at the minimum."
The White House also indicated it would invoke executive privilege to block testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
"That would be a mistake," Reed said.
For more of Major's conversation with Sen. Jack Reed, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).
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