A major newspaper's editorial board called for the prosecution of former president Donald Trump.
The editorial board for the Boston Globe made the case this week for holding Trump criminally accountable for his obstruction of justice, efforts to overturn his election loss in Georgia and inciting an insurrection Jan. 6 aimed at stopping the certification of Joe Biden's electoral win, arguing that prosecution was the only way to ensure future presidents conducted themselves honorably and lawfully.
"There is only one way left to restore deterrence and convey to future presidents that the rule of law applies to them," the board argued. "The Justice Department must abandon two centuries of tradition by indicting and prosecuting Donald Trump for his conduct in office."
The editors agreed the decision to prosecute a former president for crimes committed in office was a heavy responsibility, but they argued that it was necessary to preserve the rule of law -- and other democracies had successfully charged former leaders.
"That's not a recommendation made lightly," they wrote. "The longstanding reluctance to prosecute former leaders is based on legitimate concerns about the justice system being used to settle political scores. But filing charges against former leaders is not a radical step, either: Foreign democracies, including South Korea, Italy, and France, routinely manage to prosecute crooked former leaders without starting down a slippery slope to authoritarianism. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was recently found guilty of bribery, a decade after his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was convicted of corruption. France's democracy and its image around the world remain intact."
Trump may face prosecution for a variety of crimes allegedly committed before he entered the White House, but the editorial board said the twice-impeached one-term president must be treated differently from other chief executives because no president has ever acted so badly in office.
"A commander in chief tried his very best to subvert democracy," they argued. "He attacked his own country. Five people died. Allowing him to go unpunished would set a far more dangerous precedent than having Trump stand trial. To reform the presidency so that the last four years are never repeated, the country must go beyond passing laws: It must make clear through its actions that no person, not even the president, is above them."