Legal expert demands Garland indict Trump now: 'Pardon power doesn't belong to the attorney general'
US Attorney General Merrick Garland (AFP)

On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," former Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe demanded that Attorney General Merrick Garland put aside political optics considerations and prosecute former President Donald Trump immediately.

The evidence, Tribe argued, is overwhelming — and it isn't Garland's job to worry about anything beyond that.

"Is it dangerous, in your view, for him not to indict the former President Trump?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"I think there is no excuse at this point for not going ahead with a criminal prosecution of Donald Trump," said Tribe. "As I said in that tweet, not prosecuting him based on everything we know about the pressure campaign aimed at his vice president and everything we know about his attempts to obstruct the investigation — not prosecuting him would be giving him an unearned pardon. And even if it was earned; if Trump — and this is unthinkable — were to be contrite and to admit his guilt, the pardon power doesn't belong to the attorney general. It's not part of his job description."

The upshot of that, argued Tribe, is that all the considerations about whether indicting the former president would inflame tensions is "beside the point."

"Those issues, the issues of whether it would bring harmony or division, those are above his pay grade, honestly, and those are questions for the pardon power," said Tribe. "Just like, you know, when Gerald Ford decided to pardon Richard Nixon to help heal the country. It necessarily didn't do all of that, but it was within Ford's mandate to consider it. It's not part of an attorney general's mandate. He's not healer-in-chief. He is prosecutor-in-chief. And the evidence is now overwhelming to justify the prosecution of the former president."

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Laurence Tribe demands Merrick Garland indict Trump now