A number of President Donald Trump’s most notable critics have been clamoring to see him face criminal charges of some sort as soon as he leaves office.
As revealed in a recent BBC interview, however, the president is receiving some support — and even suggestions of a pardon — from an unlikely source.
“That’s an admission of guilt”
When former FBI Director James Comey was asked during an appearance on Newsnight if he believed President-elect Joe Biden should grant Trump a pardon, he replied: “I don’t know, he should at least consider it.”
According to The Hill, Comey also expressed some skepticism over whether Trump would even accept such an offer given its inherent implications.
“Donald Trump, he’s not a genius, but he might figure out that if he accepts a pardon, that’s an admission of guilt, the United States Supreme Court has said, so I don’t know that he would accept a pardon,” he said, as The Hill reported.
Furthermore, Comey made it clear that his support for a Trump pardon stems from his beliefs about what is best for the country rather than any residual affection for his former boss.
Insisting that the president “belongs in jail,” the former FBI chief explained that pursuing criminal charges that would put him there would likely not be “in the best interest of the entire nation.”
“Explain it to the American people”
Of course, there is no love lost between Trump and Comey, with the former accusing the latter of ignoring supposed evidence of “lies” and “leaks” within the ranks of the FBI during a special counsel investigation into accusations of Russian collusion in Trump’s 2016 White House bid.
Nevertheless, Comey believes that the next administration would be wise “not to pursue” charges against the current president.
“But whatever you do, the next president, Joe Biden, should explain it to the American people,” Comey stressed to the BBC. “Be transparent about why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
Instead of incarceration, Comey said that the “greatest punishment he could imagine” would be depriving Trump of the attention he will seek in his post-presidency.
As The Hill noted, during another interview, Comey compared Trump’s supporters to fraud victims, suggesting: “I worked criminal cases where the victims of a fraud would come to support the fraudster after he pled guilty. It is not about shouting at them. It is about coaxing them and urging them and letting them out of that fog of lies.”