Former FBI Director James Comey said during an interview with BBC Newsnight this week that President-elect Joe Biden should “consider” pardoning President Donald Trump as Democrats continue their second impeachment attempt mere days before he is slated to leave office.
“I obviously think he belongs in jail, but I don’t think pursuing that is in the best interests of the entire nation, so I think the wiser decision would be not to pursue him,” Comey said during his appearance, emphasizing that Biden should explain his decision — whatever it is — to the American people.
“Be transparent about why you’re doing what you’re doing,” he said.
When asked if he thought Biden should pardon Trump “as Ford did Nixon,” Comey said he did not know but that Biden “should at least consider it.”
“Now I don’t know whether Donald Trump, he’s not a genius, but he might figure out that [if] he accepts a pardon, that’s an omission of guilt, the United States Supreme Court has said,” he continued, adding that he does not know if Trump would accept a pardon.
“But as part of healing the country and getting us to a place where we can focus on things that are going to matter over the next four years, I think Joe Biden is going to have to at least think about that,” he added:
“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
After hours of debate, the Democrat-led House voted to impeach Trump yet again, accusing him of inciting the unrest that gripped the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Some Democrat lawmakers, such as Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), even accused Trump of organizing the chaos.
According to the Hill:
Legal experts have said it could be difficult to charge Trump with a crime related to last week’s deadly rioting at the Capitol by his supporters that led to the president’s second impeachment on Wednesday. But the president and his company could face scrutiny for possible financial crimes in the Southern District of New York, they have noted.
The House vote fell 232 to 197, with ten GOP lawmakers joining Democrats. Those include Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (OH), Peter Meijer (MI), Fred Upton (MI), Liz Cheney (WY), John Katko (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Tom Rice (SC), Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA), Dan Newhouse (WA), and David Valadao (CA).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told colleagues Wednesday that he has not yet decided if he will vote to convict the president, explaining that he intends to “listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
Comey and Trump have long been at odds. In August, Comey pleaded with Republicans and independents, describing Biden as a “person of integrity,” as opposed to Trump.