Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Last Call For The Pursuit Of Justice

The usual suspects are blowing fuses over this NBC News article that finds Joe Biden doesn't want to dedicate the Justice Department to prosecuting Trump.
President-elect Joe Biden has privately told advisers that he doesn't want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of his predecessor, according to five people familiar with the discussions, despite pressure from some Democrats who want inquiries into President Donald Trump, his policies and members of his administration.

Biden has raised concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump, said the sources, who spoke on background to offer details of private conversations.

They said he has specifically told advisers that he is wary of federal tax investigations of Trump or of challenging any orders Trump may issue granting immunity to members of his staff before he leaves office. One adviser said Biden has made it clear that he "just wants to move on."

Another Biden adviser said, "He's going to be more oriented toward fixing the problems and moving forward than prosecuting them."

Any decisions by Biden's Justice Department regarding Trump, his staff, his associates, his business or his policies wouldn't affect investigations by state officials, including Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has fought to obtain Trump's tax returns.

As Biden tries to balance his own inclinations with pressures from within his party, his advisers stressed that he is seeking to reset the dynamic between the White House and the Justice Department from what it has been under Trump.

Biden wants his Justice Department to function independently from the White House, aides said, and Biden isn't going to tell federal law enforcement officials whom or what to investigate or not to investigate.

"His overarching view is that we need to move the country forward," an adviser said. "But the most important thing on this is that he will not interfere with his Justice Department and not politicize his Justice Department."
OK, so what does this mean? If you're getting SEE BIDEN REFUSES TO SEND TRUMP TO PRISON HE'S COMPLICT out of this, you're not getting the point.
The point is Biden wants an independent Justice Department again, who operates under federal law.
The point is Trump will almost certainly pardon everyone he can, including himself. 
The point is the NY state investigations from Cyrus Vance and Letitia James will proceed.
Trump was never going to be prosecuted by the Justice Department, guys.  Trump was always going to issue pardons, and as Marcy Wheeler reminds us:

New York state already has a tax investigation into Trump, so a federal one would be duplicative. And the pardon power is absolute; there’s little likelihood DOJ could investigate the pardons that Trump grants, because doing so would be constitutionally suspect.
But there are still a number of federal investigations at the DoJ that are ongoing.  If Barr kills them or Trump pardons everyone involved as a subject of those investigations, that's not Biden's fault.
The money was always on Trump facing state charges, and I'm sure red states will be licking their chops to return the favor. Biden's right about it being divisive.

It doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done, but Biden does have to go on record as saying that the DoJ does have to be returned to independence here, and most importantly that he want no appearance of Biden ordering new investigations or charges against Trump.

This has got to happen, guys.  Good for Biden getting it out of the way now.

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