While declaring that President Donald Trump is obviously guilty of some kind of crimes against democracy, one Democrat is urging Joe Biden to pardon him anyway, as a means of defusing post-election unrest.
“Why Biden should pardon Trump — and we Democrats should want him to,” argued Michael Conway, former counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, in an aptly named “hot take” think-piece published by NBC on Tuesday that immediately drew backlash.
— Quantum Mechanic®👽 (@JamesEFinch) November 17, 2020
While Biden is on the record that he would “absolutely” commit to not pardoning Trump the way Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974, Conway is suggesting that doing so would actually help the Democrats.
Pardoning Trump would be “intended to heal the nation and foreclose the possibility of an ongoing cycle of retribution after political parties change control of the government,” he writes. The way forward “does not involve relitigating the last four years in federal criminal court.”
INBOX: Sitting Democratic member of Congress calls for “widespread investigation and prosecution” of members of the outgoing Trump administration for “innumerable crimes against the United States.” pic.twitter.com/aKvtoiQtfo
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) November 17, 2020
Conway asserts moral equivalence between Trump supporters chanting “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and what he presupposes would be the Democrats’ good-faith investigations into whatever he is he assumes Trump is guilty of.
“Trump would, of course, be one of the least deserving recipients of a federal pardon in history,” he writes, accusing the president of “currently endangering our democratic processes by relentlessly undermining the legitimacy of Biden’s election and thwarting a peaceful transition.”
Still, Conway argues, “American democracy cannot tolerate the prosecution of political opponents.” Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos – prosecuted and persecuted under the baseless banner of ‘Russiagate’ – might beg to differ. They’re not mentioned, of course.
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Conway seeks to head off the inevitable criticism by arguing that Trump accepting a pardon would mean admitting to crimes, and that state and local prosecutors could still go after him unimpeded.
Saying it would “seem fair and emotionally fulfilling” to treat Trump as he “so often threatened” to treat political opponents – though Trump never made good on those threats, which Conway omits – the Democrat describes a pardon as a “tough” and “unsatisfying” decision for Democrats, but one that would help Biden’s promise of healing the nation.
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The actual reason for his modest proposal is buried midway through the article: the existence of some 73 million Americans who voted for Trump. Any kind of investigation or prosecution of Trump “could well make the former president even more of a martyr to his millions of followers, fuel a further escalation of the existing partisan divisions and even lead to civil unrest,” he writes.
While the phrase “Million MAGA March” – an event that happened over the weekend across America, largely dismissed by the mainstream media – doesn’t appear in the article, it’s clear that it got Conway’s attention.
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