Glenn Kirschner on Pardoning Donald Trump: ‘If You Want More Criminality, Decline to Hold the Criminals Accountable’
In the weeks since President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, legal experts have ramped up discussions about whether Trump should be prosecuted for crimes he committed prior to and during his time in office.
While a long-standing Justice Department policy prevents a sitting president from being indicted, such protection ends when the commander in chief’s term expires and he or she returns to private life.
Some have argued that President-Elect Joe Biden should pardon Trump so that the country can move on from the Trump nightmare, like when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for his role in Watergate.
Then there are those, including Trump, who argue that the president can pardon himself, which is a matter of ongoing debate.
If Trump were to attempt to issue a self-pardon – something no previous president has ever done – he would have to admit his own guilt. Further, Trump would not be shielded from prosecution at the state level, because presidential pardons only apply to federal crimes.
But for others, the scope of Trump’s corruption and transparent criminality requires that he be held accountable, otherwise, future presidents would be handed carte blanche to flout the law as they please.
On Friday’s edition of The Dean Obeidallah Show on SiriusXM, MSNBC and NBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner explained why he believes Trump must face consequences.
Host Dean Obeidallah asked Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor: “If Donald Trump is not prosecuted what message does that send?”
Kirschner said that if Trump is placed above the law, it would effectively turn him – and his successors – into kings.
“We’re slouching to the end of our Republic. If we say we couldn’t prosecute when he was in office because the [DOJ’s] Office of Legal Counsel has this horrific opinion that you can’t prosecute a sitting criminal President, and we are not going to prosecute him for all those crimes once he leaves office, really?! Then a President is King while in office, and after he leaves office, and what you are doing is you are encouraging every single politician to be corrupt because they are going to get away with it.”
Kirschner added that “If you want more criminality, decline to hold the criminals accountable. If you say. ‘We aren’t going after bank robbers,’ then everyone is going to be out there robbing banks.”
Watch and listen below:
Forty-six days until the inauguration.