Joe Biden wants to avoid divisive Trump investigations

Joe Biden has reportedly told advisers he wants to “move on” from Donald Trump and not have his presidency consumed by investigations of his predecessor.

NBC News, citing “five people familiar with the discussions” reported the president-elect is resisting pressure from some Democrats who want investigations into Mr Trump, his policies and members of his administration.

It’s not clear what specific crimes the President or his team are alleged to have committed.

Nevertheless, prominent Democrats have already begun drawing up “lists” – naming everyone from Mr Trump’s children and close advisers to campaign staffers, donors, administration officials and even sitting judges – to ensure they are “held responsible for what they did”.

One such group backed by former Obama administration officials, calling itself the Trump Accountability Project, shut down last week “in the spirit of the president-elect’s call to build a more united country”.

Some Democrats have called for Trump administration officials to be prosecuted by a “truth and reconciliation commission”, similar to post-apartheid South Africa.

According to NBC News, Mr Biden has raised concerns that investigations would further divide the country, alienate 73 million Americans and risk making his presidency all about Mr Trump.

“He’s going to be more oriented toward fixing the problems and moving forward than prosecuting them,” one adviser said.

Other advisers, however, said with any investigations into Mr Trump “it’s going to be very situational” and “depending on the merits”.

But Mr Biden reportedly wants to avoid politicising the Justice Department. While he is “not going to be a president who directs the Justice Department one way or the other”, he can set the “tone” about what its priorities should be.

His team also do not want to signal to Republicans that they can do whatever they want between now and inauguration.

“While they’re not looking for broad criminal indictments, they do want to make sure that people don’t think there are no ramifications for any of their actions between now and the new presidency,” one adviser told NBC News.

During the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta last year, Mr Biden said that he would not stand in the way of any investigation and that he would leave it up to his Attorney-General.

“Look, I would not direct my Justice Department like this President does,” he said.

“I would let them make their independent judgment. I would not dictate who should be prosecuted or who should be exonerated. That’s not the role of the president of the United States. If that was the judgment, that he violated the law and he should be in fact criminally prosecuted, then so be it, but I would not direct it.”

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