President-elect Joe Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he was concerned about reports that President Trump is considering a host of preemptive pardons for his adult children and lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as the possibility of one for himself.
“It concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks (at) us as a nation of laws and justice,” Biden said during his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since winning the election. The full interview will air at 9 p.m. ET.
He added that his Justice Department will “operate independently on those issues” and how to respond to any Trump pardons.
“I’m not going to be telling them what they have to do and don’t have to do,” Biden said. “I’m not going to be saying, ‘go prosecute A, B or C’, I’m not going to be telling them. That’s not the role, it’s not my Justice Department, it’s the people’s Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn’t.”
Biden concluded that his administration would not approach pardons in the same way as Trump, adding, “It’s going to be a totally different way in which we approach the justice system.”
Biden has yet to select an attorney general, but is considering a range of names, including former deputy attorney general Sally Yates; Doug Jones, the soon to be former senator from Alabama who was defeated in November; and Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary under Obama; among others.
Harris echoed the sentiment of Biden’s remarks on the Department of Justice.