Joe Biden has said he wouldn’t prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting Donald Trump if he becomes president but he also wouldn’t pursue prosecution personally.
The former Vice President spoke about the matter at a conference of Black and Hispanic journalists earlier this week. His comments were reported by NPR on Thursday.
Biden said prosecuting a former president would be a “very unusual thing and probably not very … good for democracy” but he said he wouldn’t stand in the way of such action.
“Look, the Justice Department is not the president’s private law firm,” Biden said.
“The attorney general is not the president’s private lawyer. I will not interfere with the Justice Department’s judgment of whether or not they think they should pursue the prosecution of anyone that they think has violated the law.”
“In terms of saying, ‘I think the president violated the law. I think the president did this, therefore, go on and prosecute him’ — I will not do that,” he said.
“If [a case] prove[s] to be a criminal offense, then in fact, that would be up to the attorney general to decide whether he or she wanted to proceed with it,” Biden went on.
“I am not going to make that individual judgment.”
Trump has been linked to a variety of potential crimes over the course of his administration. It is possible he could face prosecution on a state and federal level.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media