Debates 2020

Joe Biden: 'I Don't Think It's a Good Idea That We Model Ourselves After Trump and Say Lock Him Up'

Biden says he wouldn't direct the Justice Department to investigate Trump.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden said he wouldn't direct the Justice Department to investigate Donald Trump if he became president.

Biden made the remark during tonight's Democratic primary debate hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post. After noting some crowds have started chanting "lock him up" about President Donald Trump, moderators asked Biden if he would support a criminal investigation of Trump after he leaves office.

"Look, I would not direct my Justice Department like this president does," Biden said. "I'd let them make their independent judgment. I would not dictate who should be prosecuted or exonerated. That's not the role of the president of the United States. It's the Attorney General of the United States, not the president's private attorney."

"I don't think it's a good idea that we model ourselves after Trump and say lock him up," Biden continued. "… That's not who we are, that's not who we've been, and that's not who we should be. Follow the law and let the Justice Department make the judgment of whether someone should be prosecuted. Period."

Biden's record of pushing legislation that contributed to mass incarceration aside, his answer is a refreshingly considered stance on the seriousness of using a bully pulpit and the Justice Department to please crowds or settle a political grudge.

It's not a particularly popular stance among either Republicans or Biden's Democratic opponents. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–Vt.), for instance, said tonight that the fossil fuel industry is "possibly criminally liable" for climate change and "maybe we should think about prosecuting them as well."

Casual talk of locking up political opponents makes us callous to the reality of prison. The criminal justice system isn't a plaything for presidents, and going to prison isn't a joke.

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  1. “let the Justice Department make the judgment of whether someone should be prosecuted. Period.”

    “Indeed, once my AG gets in, I’d be entirely hands off. Er, you know what I mean.”

  2. Joe Biden?
    Lock him up!
    .
    .
    .
    At the very least, maybe investigate

  3. Hahaha. Maybe VP Biden didn’t know that Obama gave the green light to spy on the Trump campaign based on a false British spy opposition piece. Maybe Biden did know.

    Joe Biden his son Hunter are fucked here and Uncle Joe knows it.

    At the very least, the DNC will throw Joe and Hunter under the bus to protect the Democrat candidate Primary pick.

    1. It sounds to me more like he’s trying to cover his own ass. In order to give him credit we would first have to ignore that when he was vp the justice department went after people in a politically corrupt manner. We would next have to ignore that Biden himself is in the middle of what appears to be an increasing number of shady deals worthy of investigation. And after all that, we would have to ignore that so far Trump has been restrained by unconstitutional court orders and really not directed law enforcement against his opponents. Only now do we have Barr looking into the corruption of politicians and bureaucrats in the Russia investigation. If Trump were as bad as they claim then we would have seen Clinton probes launched without a team full of Clinton sympathizers. You would see Clinton charged with something. You wouldn’t see so many people related to Trump getting charged with process crimes without a pardon.
      He just isn’t as bad as what Biden and the administration he worked for clearly behaved

      1. Sounds like that to me: He’s trying to make nice with Trump, in the hope of getting some mercy when it all comes out.

        Unfortunately for Biden, the best defense for Trump in an impeachment trial might just be Biden and son in matching orange jumpsuits. Make you wonder if whoever settled on Ukraine as the excuse for impeachment had it in for Biden.

          1. Just like Clinton, in a few months you’ll have gone from “Corruption? Didn’t happen!” to “What sort of crazy person gets upset about a bit of corruption???”

            1. ^^^^this

              I always watch for motive.

              Lefties know what is coming and its indictments.

              Epstein was the wake up call for Democrats. That guy was hella connected and super rich, yet he got indicted by Trump’s shifting toward law-and-order DOJ.

  4. I’m all for the t-shirt denominated slogan: Kill them all and let God sort them out. 😉

    All being politicians of course……………..

  5. He’s hoping for charity.

  6. He doesn’t want an investigation that would lead to him

  7. I would have paid good money for someone to point out that he and Obama had no problem investigating Trump during the 2016 election… or to point out that we’re actually helping the Saudis slaughter civilians, we’re not just giving them weapons. And that also, is on Obama.

  8. Of course he wouldn’t investigate the previous administration, it breaks the unwritten rule that all career politicians adhere to. How can the lifer R’s and D’s continue making their millions if they have to fear a reckoning once they are out of power?

  9. Biden only abuses his power to destroy opponents when it benefits him. After all that’s what he colluded on in 2015.

    For someone like Trump, he might simply direct the IRS to go after him for revenge.

  10. Well Mr. Biden, you won’t have the chance anyway.

  11. Biden should rather have used the Nixon pardon by Ford as a precedent. It helped ‘heal’ the country and precluded years of divisive show trials.

    1. It set off a corrupt bargain where each administration gave the previous administration a pass on its criminality, in returning the next to ignore any crimes they committed. I supported Trump in large part out of a hope that bargain would be shattered.

      1. Trump is not part of the Democrat/Republican Political Complex.
        There is no D/R bargain with Trump.
        Trump was the candidate for the None-of-the-Above voters.
        Neither party seems to get the implications.

  12. Trump will probably be indicted for bank and tax fraud in state court and if that happens and at Trump’s age the federal cases wouldn’t matter as much.

    1. Is it nice in that fantasy land you live in?

    2. Trump will then move to a different state, as he already has, and the state will tell NY to go fuck itself.

  13. I hope that 2020 will see the end of the Trump Presidency. After that I do not want to see President Trump prosecuted. I simply want him to go away. If we never hear from him again it will be too soon.

  14. DNC wants a woman. Look for Hillary to jump in soon.

    1. The greatest October surprise of all.

      1. October 2020 surprise?

  15. Yes, one ought not be callous to the realities of prison, yet lionizing the political class and making them immune from prosecution for their obvious and admitted crimes seems to be yet more damaging to the concept of democracy and equality before the law. Frankly shocked reason’s take isn’t “give everyone the same protections politicians want for themselves” but rather “protect our betters from the hell us little people are forced to endure under their boots”.

  16. … going to prison isn’t a joke.

    So a lawyer, a priest and an engineer walk into a prison…

    …and they all get raped in the ass! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Come on, they write themselves!

  17. A woman walks into a tavern and sits down at the bar & say to the bartender “Gimme a Double Entendre.”
    So he gave it to her

  18. Bernie is right, but he’s thinking too small.

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