According to a report at the Daily Beast, before he is even sworn in, President-elect Joe Biden is already facing increasing pressure to unleash the Department of Justice to investigate outgoing President Donald Trump for his part in instigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five dead and attempting to interfere with the vote counts in Georgia.
Biden has previously stated that he wants to leave those decisions to the incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland -- if he is approved by the Senate -- but Democratic lawmakers and outside advocates are urging him to take a more active role to set an example that no one is above the law.
Despite thepledge from Biden, the Beast is reporting, "[that] hasn't stopped Democrats from urging that his incoming DOJ investigate and potentially prosecute the man who inspired an insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month. Interviews with leading activists, party members, legal scholars, and one vocal member of Congress reveal an emerging belief that the department should hold Trump criminally accountable for the violent riots and his attempt to sway the election in Georgia."
Making the case for investigations, Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, stated, "I think back to when I'm in therapy. My therapist says: What's really important for healing is for the acknowledgment of the injury to have actually happened by the perpetrator. We need people to own up, we need people to admit to their lies. We need the truth to be known. Without that, healing is just repressing."
In an interview with the Beast, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said he would "lose confidence" in Biden if Trump were not investigated.
"The president made the Justice Department part of his inner circle. Joe has stated very clearly he will not tell the Justice Department what to do, but he will not shirk from his responsibility," he explained. "If he ignores that second point … then I'll probably lose confidence in him. When you're looking back and defending democracy, you're looking forward, you're thinking of our kids and grandkids. I see that as his responsibility."
The report goes on to note that some Democrats have felt squeamish about going after Trump, thinking it will look like partisan payback, but things changed after the storming of the Capitol by Trump-supporting far right-right extremists.
"The shock of the domestic terrorism, nonetheless, inspired some party officials to consider ways to encourage leaders to demand accountability, citing the need to reestablish a culture of consequences that will outlast Trump's time in office," the report states. "The former president has not offered any regret for cozying up to his old Attorney General Bill Barr and subsequently turning on him after he refused to engage in factless musings about national voter fraud."
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