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Biden Vows That He Would Not Step in to Prevent the DOJ From Prosecuting Trump

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Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden says it would be a “very unusual thing” to prosecute a former president, and “probably not very … good for democracy.”

However, that does not mean that he would step in to stop the Department of Justice from prosecuting President Donald Trump if he wins the election.

Speaking to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro in an interview that aired Thursday, Biden said, “Look, the Justice Department is not the president’s private law firm. The attorney general is not the president’s private lawyer.”

“I will not interfere with the Justice Department’s judgment of whether or not they think they should pursue the prosecution of anyone that they think has violated the law,” he added.

However, he stressed that he would not push for the prosecution of Trump. “In terms of saying, ‘I think the president violated the law. I think the president did this, therefore, go on and prosecute him’ — I will not do that.”

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He continued: 

“If [a case] prove[s] to be a criminal offense, then, in fact, that would be up to the attorney general to decide whether he or she wanted to proceed with it. I am not going to make that individual judgment.”

Garcia-Navarro said she asked Biden about the issue because Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is reported to be a top contender for his running mate. 

In 2019, Harris told the “NPR Politics Podcast” that if she won the presidency, she would prosecute Trump, “I believe that they would have no choice.”

“Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law,” she added after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

“The facts and the evidence will take the process where it leads,” she said, adding, “I do believe that we should believe Bob Mueller when he tells us essentially that the only reason an indictment was not returned is because of a memo in the Department of Justice that suggests you cannot indict a sitting president.”

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