No, Joe Biden Should Not Pardon Donald Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey declared yesterday that he believes Joe Biden should consider granting clemency for President Donald Trump “as part of the healing of the country.” Just as I have long opposed self-pardons as an abuse of presidential power, I also have long opposed such pardons by their presidential successors.  Comey is echoing the Ford rationale used in the Nixon pardon, which I continue to view as the wrong decision.  Impeachments go to the status of presidents as the officeholders. Indictments go to their status as individuals.  Indeed, I have long believed that presidents can be indicted while in office, including both President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump.Comey stated “I obviously think he belongs in jail but I don’t think pursuing that is in the best interest of the entire nation.”

I fail to see the logic of the Ford position. To use Comey’s words, if “he belongs in jail,” he should go to jail. The notion that our country cannot handle the criminal prosecution of a former president borders on slander. If a president is a criminal, he belongs in jail.  In Nixon’s case, he rejected the need for a pardon. Yet, Ford prevents a trial on Nixon’s culpability in the crimes of Watergate — crimes which sent various individuals to jail. That was not a victory for the rule of law or the country.

I do not believe that the President’s speech constituted criminal incitement unless there is more evidence of the President’s intent or knowledge. Many legal experts maintain that the speech, particularly in the context of his election challenge, is sufficient to convict. The D.C. Attorney General has said that he may charge Trump. So be it. I believe such a prosecution would collapse at trial or upon appeal. The legal system should be allowed to run its course.

The more threatening cases concern allegations of bank and tax fraud, including cases out of New York. There is also the election violation issue that was raised in the Michael Cohen plea bargain. In his plea, Cohen referenced election finance violations in connection to the Stormy Daniels payment. If Cohen was culpable of election violations in the Stormy Daniels matter, there is an obvious implication of that the President was also culpable.

I have never understood why it is so unnerving or destructive to try a former president. We are a country based on the rule of law. The prosecution of a former president shows that no one is above the law.  That does not mean that Trump will be convicted or that these cases are valid.  However, he must answer for such criminal allegations like any citizen.

230 thoughts on “No, Joe Biden Should Not Pardon Donald Trump”

  1. ‘The unmitigated gall of Andrew McCabe, the partisan FBI honcho who engineered a soft coup against the president, pontificating right now on CNN about sedition. What a crock. It’s absolutely surreal that he gets to now act as a “journalist” reporting on the mayhem he helped create’

    @paulsperry

    1. The media, especially CNN and MSNBC? They are continually LYING to the American people.

      America, if you can keep her.

      Not with FAKE NEWS media, we cannot. We will fall.

      #BidenCrimeFamily

  2. “Trump leaves White House with his lowest-ever approval rating after Capitol riot, impeachment”

    Joey Garrison
    USA TODAY

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/15/donald-trump-leaves-white-house-lowest-ever-approval-rating/4173571001/

    WASHINGTON — As he prepares to leave office, President Donald Trump’s job approval marks are on a downward spiral, led by sinking support among his Republican base, following last week’s riot at the Capitol and subsequent impeachment.

    In a new poll from the Pew Research Center, only 29% of Americans said they approve of how Trump is handling his job – the lowest of his tumultuous presidency and down 9 percentage points from August. Sixty-eight percent said they disapprove of his job performance.

    The poll found 75% of Americans believe Trump bears at least some of the responsibility for the attack, with only 24% saying he has no responsibility. About half, 52%, of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said Trump bears at least some responsibility for the Capitol violence.

    Nearly two-thirds of the poll’s respondents, 68%, said Trump should not remain a major national political figure in the future, while just 29% said he should remain one. If the Senate votes to convict Trump following his impeachment, he would be barred from holding federal public office again. -USA TODAY

  3. I had always presumed Turley would keep defending Trump until the very end. I am surprised that he is open to the risk of criminal prosecution for Trump’s actions. Is this a late in the day attempt to restore his reputation. I don’t see it working but I have been surprised before.

    The biggest gap in all of Turley’s partisan protestations protecting Trump was always that no matter what Trump had done, there was always some different and better way to respond–it was kind of a whack a mole approach. Yes, coordinating with foreign countries is an abstract wrong but OK when Trump did it. Asking a foreign country to invent a criminal investigation targeting a political rival is abstractly wrong but certainly not the type of wrong that should lead to impeachment. Inciting a mob, trying to overturn an election and failing to take steps to quash the Capitol invasion while trying to persuade Congressmen who were besieged by his loyalists while they were at risk to support his overturning the vote–all wrong, but once again not something that should lead to actual sanction. One was too early, one was too late, one was too abstract. And after 5 years of empowerment and protection, our Capitol has been disgraced, our international reputation is in shambles and our system of democracy barely avoided a coup from the top.

    Turley’s argument in Trump’s first impeachment was that Trump was not dangerous and that his actions did not deserve punishment, The folly of that argument is shown by the deaths at the Capitol. But even now, Turley still thinks that Trump should be protected against direct consequences today and instead something else is always applicable in theory. I am quite sure that if Trump is indicted, Turley will argue that somehow its the wrong charge, or the wrong court or the wrong something and that Trump should avoid consequences, and the lesson that would be tyrants should always be above the law will be understood clearly at home and abroad.

    1. I truly believe that no one is above the law..were I to incite a riot I would promptly be arrested & charged….the FBI or US Marshals should arrest him & incarcerate him. The 12 Senators & 140 representives should also be arrested and charged with aiding & abetting the riot. To date, all of the BS of it was rigged and large amount of fraudulent votes has not seen one shred of evidence.No body seems to note that 4 years have elapsed, more registrations have been made and many of the anti Trump voters have wearied of all the bad things that have happened on Trump’s watch-aided & abetted by McConnell and friends..Mining in National parks, giving giveaways to the richest, destroying workers rights, giving major polluters free reign and the list goes on…as I watched the debacle happening, I saw the true colors of many of the Trump supporters. I reminded me of Germany in 1933.The brown shirts were missing and to insult me further, using our flag as a weapon..Today I saw that unity is just another word for Trumpers.To ad further, police officer killed, others wounded and 1 protestor shot& killed, and 3 others died.We seem top be repeating Nazi Germany.As I watched teh debate on impeachment, I was struck by the many WHITE Republicans who voted aginst impeachment.

      1. “I saw the true colors of many of the Trump supporters. I reminded me of Germany in 1933.The brown shirts were missing ”

        You apparently know very little about Nazi Germany and the country you are residing in. The brown shirts were not missing this past year but were seen rioting and looting throughout the country under the banners of Antifa and BLM. It is not conservatives that want bigger government rather it is the left just like the socialists, Nazi’s and fascists. It’s not the conservatives who have taken control of the media and are trying to stop conservative media rather it is the left just like the socialists, Nazi’s and fascists. It is not the conservatives that are linking themselves with the largest corporations in the world rather it is the left just like the socialists, Nazi’s and fascists.

      1. He has actual fixed standards, so can and does critique various parties per those fixed standards. This enrages Natacha and Gainesville.

        1. The operative phrase is “actual fixed standards,” and principles something those two never had but neither do most of those frequent posters from the left. Those that have principles and fixed standards can say what they are.

          I notice that when you provide your excellent ideas for reform none of the left comment about them or provide alternatives that make sense.

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