Should Trump Be Prosecuted? Yes

In Judiciary and Courts, Misleading Information On
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Being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.

By Andrew Weissmann

Mr. Weissmann was a senior prosecutor in the Mueller investigation.

When the Biden administration takes office in 2021, it will face a unique, fraught decision: Should Donald Trump be criminally investigated and prosecuted?

Any renewed investigative activity or a criminal prosecution would further divide the country and stoke claims that the Justice Department was merely exacting revenge. An investigation and trial would be a spectacle that would surely consume the administration’s energy.

But as painful and hard as it may be for the country, I believe the next attorney general should investigate Mr. Trump and, if warranted, prosecute him for potential federal crimes.

I do not come to this position lightly. Indeed, we have witnessed two U.S. presidential elections in which large crowds have found it acceptable to chant with fervent zeal that the nominee of the opposing party should be jailed. We do not want to turn into an autocratic state, where law enforcement authorities are political weapons of the reigning party.

But that is not sufficient reason to let Mr. Trump off the hook.

Mr. Trump’s criminal exposure is clear. I was a senior member of the investigation led by the former special counsel Robert Mueller to determine whether Russia attempted to subvert our fundamental democratic source of political legitimacy: our electoral system. Among other things, he was tasked with determining whether Mr. Trump interfered with our fact-finding into this issue.

We amassed ample evidence to support a charge that Mr. Trump obstructed justice. That view is widely shared. Shortly after our report was issued, hundreds of former prosecutors concluded that the evidence supported such a charge.

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