Mitt Romney says he would have pardoned Donald Trump after indictments

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said he would have pardoned former President Trump if he had been in President Biden’s position when federal indictments were brought against him.

In an interview set to air in full Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle,” Romney said Biden would have looked like the “big guy” compared to Trump if he pardoned the former president.

“Had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought out indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him. I’d have pardoned President Trump,” Romney said.

“Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned the little guy,” Romney added, referring to Trump.

Special counsel Jack Smith brought two federal indictments against the former president – who is also the GOP presumptive nominee for president – one related to his efforts to stay in power after losing the presidential election in 2020 and another accusing him of willfully retaining national defense information and obstructing efforts by the federal government to retrieve the documents.

Romney also noted that it remains highly unlikely that either of these two federal cases will get resolved before the November election. He said he didn’t think the cases would change public perception.  

“And number two, it’s not going to get resolved before the election. It’s not going to have an impact before the election. And, frankly, the country doesn’t want to have to go through prosecuting a former president,” Romney continued.

Romney said he thinks the American people “have recognized” some fundamental facts in Trump’s indictments, including, Romney said, that he allegedly took classified documents and didn’t handle them properly.

“I think they realize he’s been lying about the election in 2020,” Romney added. “They know those things. So these things are not changing the public attitude. And, frankly, we ought to get beyond these and focus on the big issues that really matter to the American people, our inflation, our border, what’s happening around the world, America’s involvement in the world.”

Romney, who is retiring after this term, has distinguished himself from other Republican lawmakers by his willingness to criticize the former president when he deems it fit. He also made history during Trump’s first impeachment when he became the first senator to vote to convict a president from his own party.

Several other Republican senators joined him in voting to convict Trump in the second impeachment trial.

During the Republican presidential primary race, some candidates were quick to say they too would pardon the former president, including candidate Nikki Haley, who said at the time, “it’s not a matter of innocence or guilt at that point, because that means he would have already been found guilty,” adding, “I believe, in the best interest of bringing the country together, I would pardon Donald Trump. Because I think it’s important for the country to move on.”

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