James Comey says Biden should ‘consider’ pardoning Trump

Mr Comey said that though Trump ‘belongs in jail’ but pursuing him is not ‘in the best interest of the country’

Namita Singh
Thursday 14 January 2021 16:27 GMT
James Comey says Biden should ‘consider’ pardoning Trump

Donald Trump received support from an unexpected quarter on Wednesday after former FBI director James Comey urged Joe Biden to “consider” pardoning the outgoing president who he said “belongs in jail.” 

“I obviously think he belongs in jail,” Mr Comey told BBC Newsnight, but added that he does not think prosecuting him would be in the "best interest of the entire nation." 

Though Mr Comey’s position might surprise many as he has emerged as one of the strongest critics of the president, and has been a frequent target of his threats and insults since being fired by Mr Trump in May 2017, his position is identical to the one that he took in his newly released book, “Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency and Trust.”

“So, I think the wiser decision would be not to pursue him, but whatever you do, the next President Joe Biden should explain it to the American people,” he told BBC, and advised the incoming president to be “transparent” about his decision-making process. 

Mr Comey’s comments came as the House voted 232-197 to impeach Mr Trump for “incitement of insurrection” after a mob of his supporters breached the Capitol, in a bid to halt the congressional certification of Mr Biden’s victory.  

When host, Emily Maitlis, asked Mr Comey if the president-elect should follow the precedent set by Gerald R Ford who granted clemency to his predecessor Richard M Nixon in 1974 over the Watergate scandal, the former FBI director responded in affirmative. 

"I don’t know, he should at least consider it," Mr Comey said, adding that Mr Trump, “though not a genius” might figure out that acceptance of pardon would also be an omission of guilt and therefore, he would not accept it.  

"As part of healing the country and getting us to a place where we can focus on things that are going to matter over the next four years, I think Joe Biden is going to have to at least think about that."

In his newly released book, Mr Comey wrote that Mr Trump should not be federally prosecuted no matter “how powerful the evidence strewn across his history of porn stars and financial fraud." 

“Although those cases might be righteous in a vacuum… The mission of the next attorney general must be fostering the trust of the American people,” Mr Comey wrote.

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