Trump’s absence (or minimal references to him) on twitter and the news has been wonderful. (I’m sorry if these words and this post ruins this moment.) But there is a really serious question about how the Biden DOJ, Congress, and State AGs should proceed–specifically, with regard to convicting Trump of impeachment charges and investigating and prosecuting him for federal and state crimes. (Note: I’m starting a separate thread instead of including this in the Biden Administration threat because I didn’t want to mess that one up with this topic.)
This op-ed by George Conway lays out the potential state and federal crimes. I highly recommend reading this article, as it provides a good overview of these potential crimes, and the costs and benefits with pursuing or forgoing prosecution. It’s important that Americans understand the number and seriousness of potential crimes and misdeeds. These are not trivial issues. Here are some general points that I think are important:
- Conway mentions that Biden has a desire to move on. I understand this, and a part of me feels this way, too. Prosecuting Trump will be messy, and this may interfere with addressing serious and pressing problems.
- At the same time, I strongly believe Trump must face some serious consequence. I think most people who read the list of potential crimes and misdeeds would agree. To acquit him and not prosecute him would not only be wrong, but would indicate that future presidents are above the law. This would put our republic in a potentially dangerous position.
- What would consequence would sufficiently bolster the idea that the POTUS is not above the law, but also not creating a huge circus? My sense is that this is the sweetspot we should seek.
- Off the top of my head, I would say the Senate convicting Trump might be sufficient–at least on the federal level. Trump would lose the pension all presidents receive, lifetime secret service protection, and could be barred from running for office again. If this is sufficient, this consequence would be better than investigating and prosecuting several federal crimes. Senate Republicans should consider this strongly.
- This does not include whether states should investigate potential crimes and prosecute. They may have to, at least the most serious ones.