Democratic candidate Joe Biden said on Thursday that if he wins the presidency, he would not use his power to pardon Donald Trump or stop 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 said on MSNBC.
The former vice president made his statement in response to a voter who asked him on Lawrence O'Donnell's show, The Last Word, whether 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, before offering a more lengthy explanation of his view that the president must allow the Justice Department to operate without interference.
Ford became president in 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned under the threat of impeachment. Ford later pardoned his predecessor before any criminal charges related to the Watergate burglary could be filed. Ford went on to lose the 1976 presidential election.
The House impeached Trump in December on charges related to his effort to withhold congressionally appropriated funds from Ukraine in exchange for officials there assisting Trump in sullying Biden.
The Senate acquitted him in February on a nearly party-line vote. Biden also said on O'Donnell's show that voters who believe the former Senate staffer who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in the early 1990s probably shouldn't cast 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 told O'Donnell. Biden repeated his firm denial of Reade's assertion that he assaulted her in a Senate hallway 27 years ago. Biden, who served in the Senate 36 years before two terms as vice president, said he does not recall Reade at all.
He said any woman who makes a claim of harrassment or assault should be taken seriously but the account should be thoroughly vetted in every case.