In stark contrast with President-elect Joe Biden—who is reportedly inclined against investigating and possibly prosecuting President Donald Trump for his many proven and alleged crimes—one Democratic congressman on Tuesday demanded that the president be brought to justice.
"Importantly, any further abuse of the sacred pardon power to shield criminals would itself be obstruction of justice, and any self-pardons would be illegal."
—Rep. Bill Pascrell
Citing an "unprecedented litany of misdeeds [that] must not be swept under the rug," Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)—a fierce critic of the president—released a statement calling for the prosecution of Trump and members of his administration, whom the 83-year-old congressman accused of committing "innumerable crimes against the United States."
Pascrell's statement said that:
[Trump] has endangered our national security. He ripped families apart. He poisoned the Census. He has personally profited from his office. He has attacked our elections and sought to throttle democracy. He was rightly impeached by the House of Representatives. He has engaged in treachery [and] in treason. He has all but given up on governing and protecting our nation and if he had a shred of dignity he would resign today.
"In 2021 the entire Trump administration must be fully investigated by the Department of Justice and any other relevant offices," Pascrell asserted. "Trump along with his worst enablers must be tried for their crimes against our nation and Constitution. Importantly, any further abuse of the sacred pardon power to shield criminals would itself be obstruction of justice, and any self-pardons would be illegal."
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Pascrell, who serves as chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, has pursued the president with dogged determination, especially on matters regarding his taxes. Upon his appointment as subcommittee chair, he vowed to be "relentless" in uncovering the president's misdeeds.
"I'm going to use my chairmanship aggressively," Pascrell said last month. Earlier this month, he successfully requested that the United States Special Counsel—an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency—investigate reports that Trump's reelection team illegally used the White House's Eisenhower Executive Office as a campaign "war room."
The Special Counsel is looking at my complaint of trump using the White House as an election night war room and party center.https://t.co/2A4RsSuIWJ
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) November 6, 2020
Pascrell's call to prosecute the president is a major departure from Biden, who according to unnamed advisers cited in a Tuesday NBC News report believes that pursuing charges against Trump would further divide a deeply riven nation and distract from the incoming administration's agenda.
"He's going to be more oriented toward fixing the problems and moving forward than prosecuting them," said one Biden adviser, drawing comparisons to former President Barack Obama's refusal to prosecute the Bush-era architects and perpetrators of CIA and U.S. military torture—and even to former President Gerald Ford's 1974 pardon of his predecessor, the Watergate criminal Richard Nixon.