Democrats are under pressure in a different way: Their base wants to prosecute Trump

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By Reid J. Epstein for The New York Times |

The New York Times said that US President Donald Trump faces an all but certain impeachment vote this week, but Democrats are aiming to pressure the elected President Joe Biden to see that his accountability doesn’t stop once he’s out of office.

The Biden administration will face significant pressure to begin criminal investigations into Trump, his family and his aides as soon as the inauguration is complete.

The appetite to do something about Trump is immense, with Pelosi’s announcement last night that the House would press forward with impeachment if Pence didn’t invoke the 25th Amendment. (Pelosi also said on Twitter that what the president did to incite the violence “should be prosecuted).”

Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the House majority whip, said earlier on Sunday that after voting on an article of impeachment as soon as Tuesday, the House might delay sending it to the Senate — which will not reconvene until the day before the inauguration, making it certain that Trump wouldn’t be removed by Congress before his term ends.

But whatever happens with impeachment, it is not going to be enough for a Democratic base that believes Trump and his allies colluded with Russia; engaged in tax fraud; imposed illegal pressure on state officials to change the results of the presidential election; used federal offices for political activity; and violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits a president from profiting from foreign governments.

The word we heard over and over in interviews with more than 50 Democratic officials and activists was “accountability.” They said that letting Trump leave office without answering for the litany of illegal behavior he engaged in or oversaw would be an invitation for future presidents to act as far outside the law as they wish.

“You can’t heal the country if the kinds of wrongs that have been committed are never addressed,” said Howard Dean, who served as Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman.

The intensity of the desire to see Trump indicted by Biden’s Justice Department was clear hours after our article was published on Saturday. Matt Bennett, a founder of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way, said on Thursday that he did not believe the Biden administration should prosecute Trump.

After he was quoted in our article, Bennett almost immediately faced the wrath of the Democratic base. By yesterday morning, he had released a lengthy statement endorsing a criminal prosecution of the president.

“He must face justice when he leaves office,” Bennett said. “If state or federal prosecutors find that he has committed criminal offenses, he should be prosecuted.”

Source: The New York Times

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