President-elect Joe Biden has said he won't push criminal investigation against President Donald Trump at the federal level after he takes office. In a freewheeling interview with NBC News, Biden also said he has not spoken to Trump directly since the election.
The comment comes amid intense speculation that the Democrats will try to tie Trump up in numerous legal tangles once the Biden administration takes over. If Biden's latest statement defines his administration's approach to the outgoing president, the hawks in the Democratic ranks will be disappointed.
While speaking to NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in the first full-length interview after becoming the president-elect, Biden was asked about some Democrats' demand to investigate the Trump regime.
"I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen," Biden said, turning down the prospect of the DoJ being used against Trump. But at the same time, Biden said he won't do anything about the state-level legal moves Trump will have to deal with.
'There are a number of investigations that I've read about that are at a state level. There's nothing at all I can or cannot do about that,' the president-elect added.
Not a 'Third Obama Term'
Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey last week said the Department of Justice should probe 'the entire Trump regime' over its 'innumerable crimes.'
Biden also squatted aside accusations that his incoming administration is a 'a third Obama term'. The charge was levelled against Biden after the first contours of his cabinet emerged. His key team is filled with people from the Obama administration, which he was himself part of.
'This is not a third Obama term because ... we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama/Biden administration. President Trump has changed the landscape. It's become America first, it's been America alone," Biden said.
Transition Process Starts
With the General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy greenlighting the transition process and releasing funds for the Biden team, the presidential transition process has kicked into action.
President Donald Trump has not conceded defeat and his campaign is actively pursuing legal challenges in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia where the election was decided on razor-thin margins. However, the GSA's letter is a clear indication that the transition process may have got the nod from the presidential team.
Next on the agenda for the transition team is to get the Trump administration to let Joe Biden start receiving the daily intelligence briefing. Biden said he will soon start getting the briefing on a 'regular basis.' 'It's been offered. I did not have it today. We're going to do it on a regular basis,' he said in the interview.