Friday, June 14, 2019
Kamala Harris taught a master class this week in how not to address the question of accountability for President Trump, declaring to the NPR Politics Podcast that she favors Trump's indictment and prosecution after he leaves office.
Asked if she believes prosecutors should bring a case against Trump, Harris said, "I believe that they would have no choice and that they should, yes."
"There has to be accountability," she elaborated...
She refrained from chanting, "Lock Him Up!" -- for which I suppose we should be grateful....
Paul Rosenzweig is fond of saying that you don't protect norms by violating norms. And with the president so flagrantly and consistently abusing basic expectations regarding the nonpoliticization of law enforcement, it is tempting to be tolerant when Democrats -- or Republicans, for that matter -- return the favor in some small measure. But declaring someone guilty of crimes, as Pelosi reportedly did, and saying that as president you would supervise that person's prosecution, as Harris did, is poisonous stuff in a democracy that cares about apolitical law enforcement.
It's poisonous to a society that believes in a presumption of innocence. It's poisonous to a society that believes in limiting the relationship between political actors -- including the president -- and the deployment of the coercive powers of the state against individuals. A presidential candidate's promising a law enforcement outcome against an individual should be unacceptable -- even to those who fervently wish to see Trump in the defendant's chair in federal court.
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