President Joe Biden and other Democrats have no appetite for getting mixed up in the potential prosecution of Donald Trump.
The ex-president apparently expects to be indicted in Manhattan on charges related to a hush-money scheme involving porn actress Stormy Daniels, but the current president and Democratic lawmakers aren't eager to discuss the Manhattan case or Republican efforts to push back.
“I expect the president and his team will not go anywhere near this anytime soon,” Josh Schwerin, a former top strategist at the Democratic outside group Priorities USA, told The Daily Beast. “Trump wants to make this a political argument and not a legal argument; having the president and his team weigh in helps him do that."
The White House has declined to comment on what it described as an ongoing investigation, and Democratic lawmakers are trying to strike a balance between criticizing Trump's actions while lamenting the potential consequences as unfortunate.
READ MORE: Trump attorney roasted by CNN analyst: 'This is why people make jokes about lawyers'
“It’s always bad to be indicted -- I’m an old-fashioned girl,” Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) told Politico. “I don’t feel a need to run around waving a flag of triumph because I think it’s a terrible thing.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote off Trump as a "crook," while Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said "it's about time" he faced consequences for one of the laws she believes he'd broken, but red-state Democrats were a bit more measured in their reaction to the former president's possible indictment.
“There’s many reasons not to support Donald Trump," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). "There’s many reasons why Donald Trump should not be president again in the United States, but you should not allow the court system to be perceived as basically a political pawn.”
Biden and Trump appear headed toward a rematch in next year's presidential election, and as much as the president might want to stay above the fray if his opponent gets indicted in New York, Georgia or in federal court, the criminal charges will eventually become a campaign issue -- especially once the ex-president is booked.
“The mugshot might be there," said Schwerin, the Democratic strategist. "You might see a series of news clips of Donald Trump getting arrested, that could happen at some point. But that’s different than litigating the facts of the case.”