Biden has already pledged to not follow in the footsteps of Gerald Ford by issuing his predecessor a blanket pardon, and has promised to do “whatever is determined by the attorney general” with respect to any investigation into Trump himself. He has also offered up “an ambitious proposal to ensure that our government works for the people” as evidence of his commitment to restoring trust in government and rebuilding guardrails that have all but eroded under Trump.

But good government advocates, legal experts, and some prominent Democrats say the broad range of alleged violations of law by Trump administration officials and allies, ranging from misuse of government resources for personal gain; to the abuse and mistreatment of persons — including minors — in immigration detention; to obstruction of justice and making false statements to Congress; means a Biden administration effort to simply “turn the page” on the Trump years would be a dangerous concession to lawlessness…

“It took me a long time to stop being angry about people who committed torture in America’s name walking around free, but I understand why it was a tough call to make at the time,” said one prominent Democratic activist, who requested anonymity so they could speak candidly. “Not having a real, transparent investigation of the abuses that Trump and his cronies have committed would be even worse, because it would tell future presidents and their future appointees that it doesn’t matter how bad they let things get because the next president will just drop it.”