2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had concerns about the “independence” of the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump but vowed to prosecute him for obstruction of justice if elected to the nation’s highest office.
Early last month, Harris sent a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz calling on him to investigate whether the Trump administration directed Attorney General William Barr to investigate the president’s political opponents, citing concerns with the “independence of the Justice Department”:
In response to my questions during the [Senate Judiciary] hearing, Attorney General Barr proved unable or unwilling to state whether he had been directed to open investigations at the request or suggestion of the President or other White House officials — an alarming response that strikes at the very heart of the rule of law and threatens to undermine the longstanding independence of the Justice Department.
Now, a month later, Harris promised in a podcast interview with NPR to direct the Department of Justice to pursue obstruction of justice charges against Trump if she is elected president in 2020.
In the interview published on Wednesday, Harris said she believed her Department of Justice would “have no choice” but to go after the president and that it “should” do so.
Please help me understand. Why isn't this an example of Kamala Harris advocating for the criminal prosecution of her political adversaries, and "weaponizing" the Department of Justice by pre-judging a potential investigation? Norm violation, or no? pic.twitter.com/KukjZIOH7l
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 12, 2019
“There has to be accountability,” Harris continued. “I mean look, people might, you know, question why I became a prosecutor. Well, I’ll tell you one of the reasons — I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law.”
The 2020 Democratic primary candidate went on to say that she believed former special counsel Robert Mueller said that the “only reason” Trump was not indicted on obstruction charges was “essentially” because of a Justice Department memo “that suggests you cannot indict a sitting president.”
“But I’ve seen prosecution of cases on much less evidence,” she added.
Harris’ comments put her up with some of her top-ranking Democratic colleagues.
As IJR Red previously reported, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reportedly said that she wanted to see Trump “in prison” rather than “impeached.”
The reported comments drew fire from both sides of the aisle, including from some of the left-leaning media commentators.
Alan Dershowitz — a professor at Harvard University and self-described “liberal Democrat” — told Fox News that he was “appalled” at Pelosi’s reported comments and that the “idea of her weaponizing the criminal justice system” was “outrageous.”