Biden says he wouldn’t pardon Trump or block investigations

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FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2017, file photograph Vice President Joe Biden listens throughout a ceremony within the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, the place President Barack Obama introduced him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic candidate Joe Biden mentioned Thursday that if he wins the presidency, he wouldn’t use his energy to pardon Donald Trump or cease any investigations of Trump and his associates. “It is not something the president is entitled to do, to direct a prosecution or decide to drop a case,” Biden mentioned on MSNBC. “It’s a dereliction of duty.” The former vp made his assertion in response to a voter who requested him on Lawrence O’Donnell’s present, “The Last Word,” whether or not Biden would “commit to not pulling a Gerald Ford in giving Donald Trump a pardon under the pretense of healing the nation.” Biden responded, “I commit,” earlier than providing a extra prolonged rationalization of his view that the president should enable the Justice Department to function with out interference. Ford grew to become president in 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned below the specter of impeachment. Ford later pardoned his predecessor earlier than any prison prices associated to the Watergate housebreaking may very well be filed. Ford went on to lose the 1976 presidential election.

The House impeached Trump in December on prices associated to his effort to withhold congressionally appropriated funds from Ukraine in alternate for officers there helping Trump in sullying Biden. The Senate acquitted him in February on a nearly party-line vote. Biden additionally mentioned on O’Donnell’s present that voters who imagine the previous Senate staffer who has accused him of sexually assaulting her within the early 1990s most likely shouldn’t forged their ballots for him in November. “I think they should vote their heart, and if they believe Tara Reade they probably shouldn’t vote for me,” Biden informed O’Donnell. “I wouldn’t vote for me if I believed Tara Reade.” Biden repeated his agency denial of Reade’s assertion that he assaulted her in a Senate hallway 27 years in the past. Biden, who served within the Senate 36 years earlier than two phrases as vp, mentioned he doesn’t recall Reade in any respect. He mentioned any girl who makes a declare of harrassment or assault “should be taken seriously” however the account must be “thoroughly vetted in every case.” He famous “changes” in Reade’s account over time. In 2019, Reade was amongst a number of girls who accused Biden of touching them in ways in which made them uncomfortable, however none of these accounts on the time together with accusations of assault. Reade got here ahead anew in March with extra express accusations in opposition to the previous vp. “This is just totally, thoroughly, completely out of character, and the idea that in a public place, in a hallway I would assault a woman, I mean, anyway I promise you, it never happened,” Biden mentioned. The accusation has not derailed Biden’s path because the presumptive Democratic nominee, however it’s an uncomfortable circumstance for the 77-year-old who has pledged to call a lady as his operating mate and infrequently recounted his work as lead sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. Many Republicans have tried to amplify Reade’s story and hammered Biden and different Democrats as hypocrites due to their use of the mantra “Believe Women” throughout the #MeToo period, together with when Christine Blasey Ford accused now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her once they had been teenagers. Trump, nonetheless, has not gone after Biden as eagerly as he usually savages opponents. More than a dozen girls have accused Trump of various ranges of harassment and assault, prices he denies. During the ultimate segments of the MSNBC present Thursday night time, Biden appeared split-screen alongside Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, one of many girls he is believed to be contemplating for the vice presidency. Abrams is among the many most high-profile black girls within the Democratic get together, although she misplaced the 2018 Georgia governor’s race. Abrams and Biden praised one another as they mentioned voting rights and poll entry amid the coronavirus pandemic.