But law enforcement veterans warned that candidates everyday locksmith engaging on the subject are also opening up Pandora’s box. To start, they’re gift-wrapping for Trump a potent talking point he can use to excite his own voters: Keep him in office or he’s going to be fighting for his own freedom. Beyond that, Democrats risk creating their own toxic situation if they take over the White House in 2021, forced to try and advance a post-Trump agenda alongside the first ever federal criminal trial against a former American president.
“You can see a case where an incoming [Democratic] president might not want a prosecution of Trump. It has the ability to blot out your entire agenda,” said Matthew Miller, a former Obama-era Justice Department spokesman. He called it a “very slippery slope” that the next president in many ways won’t even have control over — especially if they actually step back and leave it to their new crop of DOJ leaders to decide.
“It’s a massive thing, but an independent attorney general might determine he or she has no choice,” Miller said.
Democrats have been trying to articulate what the world would look like for Trump in a post-White House era. Their troubles have been fueled in part by a POLITICO report earlier this month that the party’s de facto leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pushed back on colleagues clamoring for impeachment by declaring: “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.”
A few days later, Beto O’Rourke said on ABC’s “This Week” that he thought Trump had committed crimes that should be prosecuted.