Sen. Vance Spars With NBC Host Over Trump 'Weaponization' Of DOJ

Sen. Vance Spars With NBC Host Over Trump 'Weaponization' Of DOJ


Sen. J.D. Vance engaged in a heated exchange with NBC host Kristen Welker on Sunday over whether Donald Trump would “weaponize” the Justice Department like Joe Biden has done against his political opponents.

The discussion initially focused on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Trump’s presidential immunity. However, the conversation shifted when Welker brought up a statement by Trump about appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Biden and his family, based on a rally speech from June 13, 2023. Welker’s question to Vance was whether he supported Trump’s proposal for a special prosecutor, sparking a broader debate on the show.

Vance began his response by criticizing Democrats’ reactions to Trump’s comments, suggesting they were overreacting. He then referenced ongoing investigations by the House Oversight Committee into Biden and his family and mentioned alleged connections between these investigations and Trump’s indictments. However, when Welker pointed out that Biden had not directly appointed a special prosecutor, she reiterated her question, pressing Vance on whether he would support Trump’s proposal to appoint a special prosecutor.

“I would absolutely support investigating prior wrongdoing by our government. Absolutely, that’s what you have to have in a system of law and order, Kristen, but I have to reject the premise here. Joe Biden appointed the attorney general, Merrick Garland, who, of course, answers to Joe Biden, can be fired by Joe Biden,” Vance said.

“So the idea that the Biden administration has nothing to do with the appointment of the special prosecutor, I think, completely betrays an understanding— a misunderstanding of how our system of government actually works. Of course, Kristen, we have to make this point, Kristen, that the prosecution of Donald Trump in New York — which I think now [has] fundamentally been thrown in doubt by this immunity case — it was one of the main guys— was a Department of Justice official in the Biden administration who jumped ship to join a local prosecutor’s office to go after Donald Trump.”

“And yet the DOJ told Congress— ” Welker interjected.

“If that doesn’t make you question the legitimacy of the prosecution, that’s a problem,” Vance said, finishing his thought.

“Well, Senator, that happens all the time: people are appointed from Washington. But the DOJ told Congress, testified this week— ” Welker said.

“Kristen, it happens. Are you really saying, Kristen, it ‘happens all the time’? That the number— ” Vance said, appearing shocked.

“Let me just finish this. The DOJ told Congress this week it reviewed all communications since Biden took office and found no contact between federal prosecutors and those involved with that case in New York. Can you stick to the substance of the question, though?” Welker asked. “Let me just ask because you are — I just want to stick with this line of theory that you are laying out, which is you are saying it’s not okay for Joe Biden to weaponize the Justice Department. If it’s not okay for Joe Biden to weaponize the Justice Department, as you say — which there’s no evidence of that — why is it okay for Donald Trump to do that?”

“Well, Kristen, first of all, you said that it ‘happens all the time’ that the number three person in the Department of Justice jumps ship to join a local prosecutor’s office to go after the president’s political opponent? I don’t think that’s ever happened in the history of American democracy and I don’t think that we should legitimize it,” Vance responded.

“Now if Donald Trump’s attorney general had his number two or number three jump ship to a local prosecutor’s office in Ohio or Wisconsin and that person then went after Donald Trump’s political opposition, that’s a different conversation. All he’s suggesting is that we should investigate credible arguments of wrongdoing. That’s all that Donald Trump is saying. That is not a threat to democracy. That’s merely reinforcing our system of law and government.”

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