Politics - News Analysis
Jim Comey Says Biden Should ‘Consider’ Pardoning Trump to Allow the Country to Heal
Former FBI Director James Comey is sticking by his earlier sentiments that President-elect Biden should “consider” pardoning President Donald Trump, Newsweek reports.
In a story last week, I’d written that Comey suggested that Biden should focus on “fostering the trust of the American people” instead of pursuing a criminal investigation into Trump. This time around he’s saying impeaching was a healthy thing for the country and added it would also be “good for our country” if he were removed from office prior to Inauguration Day. When Biden becomes President, however, he said he believes he should consider granting clemency to help begin the process of “healing the country.”
Comey, fired by Trump in May 2017, appeared on the BBC program Newsnight and said he was “sickened” as he watched Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol building unfold. The unrest led to the deaths of six people.
“I obviously think he belongs in jail but I don’t think pursuing that is in the best interest of the entire nation,” he said.
“Whatever you do, the next President Joe Biden should explain it to the American people. Be transparent about why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
“Donald Trump belongs in jail.”
Ex-FBI Director @Comey says while he “obviously believes” the president should be in jail, he doesn’t think “pursuing that is in the best interests of the American people”, adding Joe Biden should "consider" pardoning Donald Trump#Newsnight pic.twitter.com/RUghKyq5nW
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) January 13, 2021
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At one point, show host Emily Maitlis asked him if Biden should follow former President Gerald Ford’s example. Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal resulted in his resignation.
“He should at least consider it,” Comey said, noting he realized that Trump might “figure out that if he accepts a pardon, that’s an admission of guilt…so I don’t know that he would accept a pardon.”
That seems weird to me. Trump’s already made it plain that he was thinking of pardoning himself. But on the other hand, he may have too much hubris to ever admit guilt. Who knows? Comey, however, suggests that the country will only begin the healing process by moving forward.
“But as part of healing, the country and getting us to a place to where we can focus on things that are going to matter over the next four years, I think Joe Biden is at least going to have to think about that,” Comey said.
He also added he hopes the Biden administration will ensure Trump isn’t a focal point in the public eye.
“On balance, the best decision for the United States of America would be not to grant Donald Trump the platform that prosecuting him would give him every day for three or four years in the nation’s capital as the ‘United States versus Trump.”
Comey wants the U.S. to dim the lights on Trump and let his problems play out elsewhere.
“I think the better thing for our country and our new president, is to push Donald Trump to the side a bit,” he said. “I would rather the TV lights go out and he stand on the lawn at Mar-a-Lago shouting at cars in his bathrobe, where none of us can hear that.
Well, he does have a point there, but Trump’s dirty tax dealings, his incitement of violence that led to the violent siege on Capitol Hill, and his inept and uncaring handling of a devastating pandemic that’s killed nearly 385,000 Americans is shameful and I can’t really reconcile myself with the idea of sweeping this under the rug.
I’m not on board with this idea.