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Biden laid out his first 100 days in office and said he wouldn’t use DOJ as his personal ‘vehicle’ to investigate Trump



Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images


© Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

  • President-elect Joe Biden gave an interview with the NBC News anchor Lester Holt on Tuesday in which he laid out his priorities for his first 100 days in office and discussed keeping the Justice Department independent as it relates to any investigations that might involve President Donald Trump.
  • “I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,” Biden told Holt of a Trump investigation. “There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level — there’s nothing at all that I can or cannot do about that.”
  • “But I’m focused on getting the American public back at a place where they have some certainty, some surety, some knowledge that they can make it,” he continued.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden says he won’t use the Justice Department as his personal “vehicle” to investigate President Donald Trump — echoing a campaign phrase about allowing the agency to be independent.

Biden appeared on “NBC Nightly News” with the anchor Lester Holt on Tuesday in Biden’s first televised interview since the November election. He was asked about tapping former Democratic rivals for his Cabinet, how the presidential transition was moving along, and how he envisioned a vaccine rollout next year.

During the interview, the president-elect laid out his priorities in his first 100 days upon taking office in January and responded to a question about investigations into Trump. As Business Insider’s Dave Levinthal previously reported, Trump could face a litany of federal and state investigations after leaving office.

“I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,” Biden told Holt. “There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level — there’s nothing at all that I can or cannot do about that.”

“But I’m focused on getting the American public back at a place where they have some certainty, some surety, some knowledge that they can make it,” he continued. “The middle class and working-class people are being crushed. That’s my focus.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, called for federal investigations into Trump and members of his administration upon Biden’s transition into the White House, saying Trump had “attacked our elections and sought to throttle democracy.”

“He was rightly impeached by the House of Representatives,” Pascrell continued. “He has engaged in treachery, in treason. He has all but given up on governing and protecting our nation, and if he had a shred of dignity, he would resign today.

“Failure to hold financial and political wrongdoing accountable in the past has invited greater malfeasance by bad actors. A repeat of those failures in 2021 further emboldens criminality by our national leaders and continues America down the path of lawlessness and authoritarianism. There must be accountability.”

Read more: Everyone knows Kamala Harris and Jill Biden. Meet 12 more women in prime positions to sway the Biden White House.

Biden has previously said he aims to restore the level of independence that typically exists between the White House and the Justice Department.

In October during the campaign he responded to an ABC News town-hall question, saying: “What the Biden Justice Department will do is let the Justice Department be the Department of Justice. Let them make the judgments of who should be prosecuted.”

The line between the DOJ and the president had been blurred with the Trump administration and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Following Election Day, Barr authorized federal investigations into Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud, which were largely rooted in conspiracy theories and lacked evidence.

Biden told Holt that he would take action on immigration and climate change in his first 100 days but that his main priority would be dealing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He described lacking health insurance when he was younger and related it to what some American families might be feeling during the pandemic.

“I asked my mom, ‘What’s wrong with dad?'” Biden said. “She said: ‘Honey, he’s worried. We just lost our health insurance. He doesn’t know what to do.’ Think of all the people who are lying awake at night staring at the ceiling thinking, ‘God forbid that happens.’

“We have to act to guarantee that they have access to affordable health insurance,” he continued. “This is more than just a financial crisis. This is a crisis that is causing real mental stress for millions of people, and it’s within our power to solve it and to grow the economy at the same time.”

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