Yes, Trump Should Be Prosecuted

So far, unity is the name of Joe Biden’s game. He doesn’t want to rock the boat too much, already offering half-measures on things like student debt and floating Republicans for cabinet posts. It doesn’t appear Biden has any interest in pursuing investigations into the Trump administration either, saying he’d leave that to the Justice Department.

The hands off approach isn’t enough, though. If Biden truly wants to return things to “normal,” Trump needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

Forget that Trump has flouted every norm in the book and eroded the public’s trust in American institutions—those aren’t necessarily bad things. What’s bad is what Trump did with that power, namely breaking an untold number of laws while openly using the presidency to enrich himself and his family. He’s continuing that as we speak, with lawsuits in several states alleging voter fraud with no evidence.

Trump is actively working to steal an election he lost because, well, he lost. We’re all treating it like a farce because it looks like one. Rudy Giuliani, the man spearheading Trump’s legal efforts, appears as if he’s physically dying in real time, sweating his way through press conferences and denying sexual behavior in major movies. Almost all of Trump’s election lawsuits have been thrown out or shot down. That’s why Giuliani, the nation’s de facto court jester, continues appearing on camera covered in his own hair dye to convince Trump supporters everything is going great.

Things may look stupid from the outside, but actual fraud is still happening inside the administration. Trump’s people are preventing Biden’s transition team from accessing materials and information necessary to get a head start on the President-elect’s pandemic relief. People are (and will continue) dying because of that. Reports confirm that Trump’s new Defense Secretary Christopher Miller was appointed to create as many problems for the incoming Biden administration as possible, “lighting too many fires to put out.” And on the election fraud front, Trump himself asked the two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, Mich. to rescind their support for certifying the vote there.

These aren’t the idle actions of a senile sore loser. They’re abuses of power and part of an obvious attempt to subvert the will of American voters to keep power and, if that doesn’t work, fuck things up for his successor. Any one of these items is enough evidence to prove Donald Trump doesn’t care one bit for the country or people he claimed to serve, and those in his employ understand that clearly.

Indicting a former president would have major implications. It would also be extremely hard to convict Trump given the broad power of the presidency, and it’s an open question for legal scholars to debate. But not investigating the most openly corrupt administration in modern American history leaves the door open for a more efficient and even more corrupt administration to finish what Trump started and abuse the power he left behind. Many of Biden’s most ardent supporters said he would save American democracy from Trump. But what’s the point of saving something you’re not willing to protect?