Joe Biden Should Pardon Donald Trump, Democrat Says

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd on the first day of the Republican National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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In a Wednesday column for NBC News, lawyer Michael Conway made the case for why Joe Biden should pardon President Donald Trump “and we Democrats should want him to.”

Conway, who was counsel for the House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon in 1974, posited that the best way for Biden to fulfill his campaign promise and unite the country would be to grant Trump a presidential pardon as soon as he is inaugurated.

The lawyer noted that Trump does not deserve a pardon and that Biden said last May that he would not grant him one if elected. Still, he suggested, pardoning Trump may not be a terrible idea.

“First and foremost, Trump’s acceptance of a pardon — under the 1915 Supreme Court opinion in Burdick v United States — is an admission that he was guilty of the crimes for which he has been pardoned,” he wrote, pointing out that the commander-in-chief would still be vulnerable to prosecution in New York state.

Trump has frequently called for the prosecution and jailing of prominent Democrats, but Biden should not do the same, according to Conway, because “American democracy cannot tolerate the prosecution of political opponents.”

Furthermore, he wrote, 73 million Americans who voted for Trump on November 3 would never support federal investigations against him, so the American people would be more divided than ever.

“There is an opportunity to rediscover our common ground with one another — and the way forward does not involve relitigating the last four years in federal criminal court.”

President Gerald Ford granted a presidential pardon to Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal to help bring the nation together and Biden should consider doing the same, Conway argued. He noted that Nixon did not deserve the pardon either, but Ford put the country first.

“As unsatisfying as a pardon would sit with many of us, this tough decision would be one good way to begin the healing Biden offered,” Conway concluded.

President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks about the U.S. economy during a press briefing at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.
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Biden is reportedly not interested in prosecuting Trump. According to NBC News‘ sources, the Democrat has privately told advisers that he would rather focus on the future than launch probes into his predecessor’s alleged wrongdoings.

Individuals familiar with Biden’s thinking also told the publication that he would aim to depoliticize the Department of Justice, although he would not interfere in investigations by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Trump has not yet conceded the election to Biden. He has repeatedly disputed the results, alleging widespread electoral fraud and refusing to move forward with the transition process.