The first two Democratic debates are scheduled for next week, and the second night will feature one of the candidates who have piqued our interest — Andrew Yang.
Yang is one of the handful of candidates not given to histrionics while still presenting his plans on how to deal with a serious issue — how technology (not immigration) is eliminating American jobs and how can the country deal with the new economy.
We’re not saying he’s our preferred choice in the over-filled Democratic field (we also like what we’re hearing from Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg), but he has us intrigued.
And, yes, we wouldn’t be honest if we didn’t say we would not turn down getting an extra $1,000 a month as Yang is proposing.
While we find ourselves liking more and more what Yang has to say, we recently saw something that has us questioning if he’s actually not the right man for president and should, instead, angle for a cabinet position.
It was a tweet he issued Thursday, June 13. It read: “Imprisoning a former president is the kind of thing that happens in developing countries — America should avoid falling into this pattern if at all possible. The focus should be on winning in 2020 and solving the problems that got Trump into office.”
We’re guessing this was in reaction to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi allegedly telling the Democratic caucus (behind closed doors) that she doesn’t want to see Trump impeached; rather she wants to see him “in prison.”
Despite many on the left believing Trump has committed numerous criminal acts, he has not (as of this writing) been charged with any crime. So any talk of imprisonment is far too premature.
However . . .
Yang’s statement worries us because we infer that he believes the president should be above the law — both in office and after he returns to private life. And that’s something we cannot support.
We have significant heartburn over the Department of Justice policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. While the last 30 years have shown us that both sides of the aisle will make life miserable for a president — via endless (and often pointless) investigations — and it wouldn’t surprise us that, if the policy were not in place, at least one side would seek countless indictments for frivolous matters just to impede the president’s agenda (we’re looking straight at you, Mitch McConnell). The fact that the two parties have devolved into bickering 13-year-olds is not a valid reason to declare a president is not subject to the same laws as the rest of the nation.
“No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right, not asked as a favor,” President Theodore Roosevelt said in his third state of the union address in 1903.
Should a president stand reasonably accused of a felony, he or she should be charged and tried in a court of law, regardless of how much of his or her term remains to be served.
The same applies when a president is out of office. We have always believed that Ford never should have issued a blanket pardon to Nixon and, instead, Nixon should have stood trial for his alleged crimes.
Trump, too, if it’s reasonably believed — and there is evidence — Trump committed a crime.
Under the DOJ policy, Trump can only be charged once he is out of office, and the statute of limitations for federal crimes is five years, only allowing for charging of some of the alleged crimes in 2021. If he wins re-election, and assuming he doesn’t commit any other crimes during his second term, Trump can walk away scot free, regardless of what evidence may be turned up.
If the Democrats win the White House, Trump could reasonably be tried if charged, without a pardon handed to him as he exits the oval office — apparently only if the new president isn’t Yang.
We didn’t think a stance on pardoning Trump would be the first criteria for selecting a Dem to run for president, yet here we are.
Of course, all this would be moot if Congress would enact a law (not a policy) that says every citizen, regardless of elected office, can be charged when a crime has been committed.
Perhaps if a Democrat wins the presidency, McConnell might let such a bill come to a vote.