While some Democrats running for president in 2020 have opted to call for President Donald Trump‘s impeachment, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a career prosecutor, said that if she’s is elected she believes her Department of Justice “would have no choice” but to pursue obstruction of justice charges against Trump. Harris made the comments on NPR Politics’ Podcast, and they haven’t exactly been universally well-received by her legal peers.
But first — here’s what she said:
“I believe that they would have no choice and that they should [pursue charges], yes.”
“There has to be accountability,” Harris added. “I mean look, people might, you know, question why I became a prosecutor. Well, I’ll tell you one of the reasons — I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law.”
“I do believe that we should believe Bob Mueller when he tells us essentially that the only reason an indictment was not returned is because of a memo in the Department of Justice that suggests you cannot indict a sitting president. But I’ve seen prosecution of cases on much less evidence.”
Okay — now that we’ve got that out of the way: legal observers immediately criticized Harris for promising to prosecute a political opponent. Where have we seen this before? Ah, yes: then-candidate Trump called for Hillary Clinton to be locked up.
Others, however, said that we have a case of apples and oranges on our hands.
Even still, legal reporters and former federal prosecutors alike agreed that Harris gifted President Trump a defense motion.
If you believe that someone deserves prosecution, you should do your best to encourage your favored candidate to keep quiet about it.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) June 12, 2019
The best approach would be to pledge to leave the question of prosecuting Trump (after he leaves office) to career prosecutors. If any political figure is indicted or investigated, it is important to do whatever possible to insulate that decision from political considerations.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) June 12, 2019
[Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]