This interview with former Attorney General Eric Holder is a beautiful illustration of the extent to which American elites define something bad happening to America as being identical to something bad happening to any of them.
Holder makes the astonishing claim that it might well be a good thing for a future Attorney General not to prosecute Donald Trump for crimes Trump committed even before he became president, because of the “cost to the nation” of holding such a trial!
He doesn’t specify what that cost would be, nor does he address the cost of not holding such a trial, which would be the cost of announcing that the criminal law doesn’t apply to an ex-president. To be clear, there is literally nothing in American law that supports — let alone requires — such a decision.
The precedent here is of course Ford pardoning Nixon. Holder, again with no explanation, concludes that “looking back, I tend to think that that was probably the right thing to do.”
I’ve never heard anything like a coherent defense of Ford’s decision, and extending that atrocious precedent to a career criminal like Trump would be even less defensible than when Jerry Ford cut Dick Nixon a break, for old time’s sake.
This is an issue every Democratic presidential candidate should be asked about directly, as in “would you be willing to appoint an Attorney General who would treat ex-president Trump as if he were above the law?”
As for Holder, he probably thinks he’s being Solomonic and statesman-like and all, but what his response really typifies is the sort of trans-ideological elite in-group impunity that is one of the worst things about our politics.