When President Obama came into office in 2009, he was faced with the near-collapse of the American economy and thousands of troops engaged in two different wars. He put his head down and got to work, and in doing so, he completely dismissed calls from within his own party to investigate the Bush administration. Specifically, many Democrats wanted an investigation into how the Bushies lied us into war in Iraq. I remember also being sort of confused by why the Obama/Eric Holder Justice Dept. didn’t do a wider investigation into the massive financial fraud and “white collar crime” that led to the 2008 financial collapse (to this day, only one banker has gone to jail for any of it). Obama also rejected calls for any kind of “truth and reconciliation” commission.
So, that’s the recent history. As mad as I was at George W. Bush and his cronies, I understood Obama’s point of view that launching a bunch of investigations and commissions would end up bogging everything down. But what about the past four years of Donald Trump’s fascism? Do we, perhaps, need President Biden to order some investigations into Trumpland’s criminality? Well, President Biden doesn’t want to do it.
President-elect Joe Biden has privately told advisers that he doesn’t want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of his predecessor, according to five people familiar with the discussions, despite pressure from some Democrats who want inquiries into President Donald Trump, his policies and members of his administration.
Biden has raised concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump, said the sources, who spoke on background to offer details of private conversations. They said he has specifically told advisers that he is wary of federal tax investigations of Trump or of challenging any orders Trump may issue granting immunity to members of his staff before he leaves office. One adviser said Biden has made it clear that he “just wants to move on.”
Another Biden adviser said, “He’s going to be more oriented toward fixing the problems and moving forward than prosecuting them.”
Any decisions by Biden’s Justice Department regarding Trump, his staff, his associates, his business or his policies wouldn’t affect investigations by state officials, including Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has fought to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
As Biden tries to balance his own inclinations with pressures from within his party, his advisers stressed that he is seeking to reset the dynamic between the White House and the Justice Department from what it has been under Trump. Biden wants his Justice Department to function independently from the White House, aides said, and Biden isn’t going to tell federal law enforcement officials whom or what to investigate or not to investigate.
“His overarching view is that we need to move the country forward,” an adviser said. “But the most important thing on this is that he will not interfere …read more