President-elect Joe Biden would prefer to avoid pursuing criminal investigations of President Donald Trump after he leaves office.
Despite mounting pressure from some Democrats to look into Trump and his family, sources told NBC, Biden has privately told advisers that investigations would only further divide the country by alienating Trump voters.
Biden is particularly hesitant to mount any federal tax investigations or challenge any immunity he may give to members of his staff.
“He’s going to be more oriented toward fixing the problems and moving forward than prosecuting them,” one Biden adviser said.
Biden wants the Justice Department to operate with little political influence from him — in an attempt to reverse the politicization that occurred under Trump — but advisers say he still would prefer the department not overly probe Trump.
“His overarching view is that we need to move the country forward,” an adviser told NBC. “But the most important thing on this is that he will not interfere with his Justice Department and not politicize his Justice Department.”
Biden has previously said during his campaign that any decision to prosecute Trump should be left to the attorney general he appoints.
“If that was the judgment that he violated the law and he should be, in fact, criminally prosecuted, then so be it,” he said during a debate in Atlanta. “But I would not direct it.”
Even if the Biden administration declines to pursue investigations pertaining to Trump, state officials can still open probes of their own — such as the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has done in investigating possible campaign finance violations from 2016.