MSNBC host Joy Reid floated the idea of a potential future Biden administration establishing a “Trump Crimes Commission” to investigate President Donald Trump’s actions while in office — and perhaps even during his campaign, Mediaite reported.
Such a move would be unprecedented in American politics, as it is a longstanding norm that successors do not use their authority to investigate former political opponents.
Reid, an outspoken Trump critic, made the suggestion Tuesday night while discussing the final release of the bipartisan Senate report on Russian interference in the 2016 election with former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.
“It strikes me in just reading through this that Paul Manafort did to the United States what he had previously done to Ukraine,” Reid said. “He had messed with their elections in the past in order to put a [Russian President Vladimir] Putin puppet in charge. And now you have a president who is ruminating apparently on meeting with Vladimir Putin in New York, has talked about putting him back in the G7, and seems to be doing everything — you know, if there was a Christmas list that Vladimir Putin would have put together, it couldn’t have gotten any better than what Donald Trump is doing.
“If Joe Biden becomes president … should [there] be something like a Trump Crimes Commission?” she asked. “Should he impanel such a commission? And do you think that members of the Trump campaign including up to the president should be at least looked at for prosecution?”
Reid is not the first to float such an idea. Journalist Andrew Feinberg and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner have also called for a crimes commission to be empaneled, along with Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.
Rhodes, in response to Reid’s prompting, essentially agreed with the proposition but with a few caveats about how it would look and how it should be executed.
“There is no question in my mind, Joy, that there has to be an accountability process if Joe Biden wins, to protect the integrity of our democracy,” he said. “It’s not about getting revenge. It’s not about going after political opponents. That’s what Donald Trump does. It’s about sending a message that if you collude with, facilitate, coordinate with a foreign adversary and hacking private materials and releasing them that there are going to be consequences.”
He added: “We cannot just say we’re going to turn the page. We have to deal with this as a country. And so I really think it’s essential that we have some accountability process if Joe Biden wins the election.”