NBC News is reporting that President-Elect Joe Biden doesn’t want Trump’s flagrantly unlawful behavior while in office pursued when he leaves office.
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.
This is reminiscent of Gerald Ford’s summary pardon of any crimes that Richard Nixon may have committed while in office, and matches the reasoning: it’s just too emotionally costly to pursue an ex-president when the nation’s energies need to be differently focused.
I have deeply mixed feelings about it. I agree that Donald Trump is a criminal who belongs behind bars, and I would spend real money for a photo of him walking around the exercise yard at Fort Leavenworth wearing a striped suit. On the other hand, getting him there would certainly come at a terrible cost to the country; I know people who think The Donald is a Great Man, and they’d go to their graves hating this country if Trump were to be prosecuted by the Federal government for crimes committed while in office.
A fair, public trial would not change those peoples’ minds.
Nixon, at least, was an intelligent man who managed to write some useful, still-instructive books while living in exile at San Clemente. But what can possibly become of Trump but that he removes himself to Mar-A-Lago and issues a stream of deranged tweets that inflame the loonies?
He will strive to undermine his successor(s), however, and for that he poses a real danger. Perhaps the solution is to eschew prosecution in exchange for going away and shutting-up.