Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) has demanded that President Donald Trump and his enablers be investigated and prosecuted for “innumerable crimes against the United States” after the president leaves office in January.
“Tonight I’m calling for the eventual prosecution of Donald Trump and his enablers for their many crimes against the United States,” Pascrell wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night.
Attached to the tweet was an official statement from Pascrell’s congressional office in which the lawmaker accuses Trump of having committed a litany of offenses, including treason. Pascrell also encourages the outgoing commander in chief to resign.
Tonight I’m calling for the eventual prosecution of donald trump and his enablers for their many crimes against the United States. pic.twitter.com/LJGvzLqQ35
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) November 18, 2020
“Donald Trump and members of his administration have committed innumerable crimes against the United States. He 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, in treason,” wrote Pascrell. “He has all but given up on governing and protecting our nation and if he had a shred of dignity he would resign today.”
Pascrell said that under no circumstances should Trump be permitted to pardon his co-conspirators – including himself – as a means of skirting justice:
“Therefore, in 2021 the entire Trump administration must be fully investigated by the Department of Justice and any other relevant offices. Donald 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,” the New Jersey Democrat declared.
Pascrell concluded that a dangerous precedent would be established if Trump is permitted to get away with his abuses of power.
“Failure to hold financial and political wrongdoing accountable in the past has invited greater malfeasance by bad actors. A repeat of those failures in 2021 further emboldens criminality by our national leaders and continues America down the path of lawlessness and authoritarianism,” said Pascrell. “There must be accountability.”
No previous president has attempted to pardon himself, although Trump has toyed with the idea throughout his time in office. Even if – somehow – Trump manages to do it, presidential pardons come with strings.
First, accepting an offer of executive clemency requires an admission of guilt. Second, presidential pardons do not apply to state crimes or civil litigation. For example, Trump will be walking into a deluge of lawsuits in New York State – the bulk of which are likely to involve his personal finances, his sketchy business practices, numerous campaign finance violations, allegations of sexual misconduct and related matters of defamation, and his mysterious tax returns – when he rejoins civilian life.
President-Elect Joe Biden has pledged to remain neutral should any criminal proceedings involving Trump arise.
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a fiercely loyal Trump ally, responded to Pascrell’s tweet on Wednesday morning.
“This is now the Left’s goal – throw President Trump, his administration officials, his family and his supporters in prison. This is where we are now,” Gaetz tweeted. “Disgusting.
This is now the Left’s goal – throw President Trump, his administration officials, his family and his supporters in prison.
This is where we are now. Disgusting. https://t.co/ryYHTjoBdr
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 18, 2020
Gaetz conveniently omitted that Trump has been calling for his political adversaries to be imprisoned – for no legitimate legal reasons – since before he was elected president.
Sixty-three days until the inauguration.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.