If Donald Trump did this, the press would be howling about the end of democracy and the subversion of our system of justice, saying the president was interfering with decisions that should be made by DOJ.
The Biden administration quickly arranged to walk back President Biden’s comment, which was smart PR.
According to Politico:
The Department of Justice on Friday emphasized that it will make its “own independent decisions in all prosecutions” after President Joe Biden said he hopes the department will prosecute individuals who defy subpoenas from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said.
Just an hour earlier, after departing Marine One, Biden said he hopes the select committee “goes after them and holds them accountable criminally,” referring to people including former Trump administration aides investigators subpoenaed last month. Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon’s lawyer has told the committee he won’t comply with the congressional subpoena.
When pressed on if the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy the subpoenas, Biden said, “I do, yes.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted later Friday evening: “As @POTUS has said many times, January 6th was one of the darkest days in our democracy. He supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions.”