Harris’ Good Answer vs. Pete’s Great Answer

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Mayor Pete and Kamela Harris answered two very similar questions. What happens to Trump after he no longer is President and cannot claim immunity from prosecution?

Kamala Harris’ answer. Starts at 22:30 in full interview below:

And Buttigieg’s answer.

Both answers are good, but Buttigieg’s was also great.

As a former prosecutor, what has concerned me about this President, perhaps the most, was the way he exults in breaking with norms intended to insulate the prosecutorial function in the DOJ from political control by the President.

The chants of lock her up. The President’s cavalier use of the concept of treason. The Admin’s move to investigate the investigators of the Mueller investigation. These all serve to wear down that hard-won, critical insulation.

One of the features I most want to see in the next President is that he or she restore and strengthen those norms that insure proper distance between the President and the Executive’s prosecutorial power.

The power to prosecute may be located in the Executive, but it far too dangerous to hand the prosecutor’s pen to a President, or to an elected executive at any level of government, for that matter. Especially one as reckless and impulsive and self-interested as this one.

Mayor Pete, by laying down the principle that the prosecutorial function should have as little to do with politics as is institutionally possible, nailed the question.

No doubt Harris’ response also strikes some the right notes, but she doesn’t lay down the principle as I would have expected from a career prosecutor. And her odd phrasing left left her open to misinterpretation.

Instead, it was the Mayor, with his experience of wielding actual executive power, and the temptation to sneak a thumb on the scales of justice that comes with it at times, who most clearly laid it out for people.

Presidents are not above the law; nobody is. And no President should ever be trusted with direct control of prosecutorial charging decisions. That way leads to madness and persecution.