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Buttigieg says if he's president 'so be it' if Trump prosecuted after leaving office

"Everybody ought to be held accountable," the presidential candidate told NBC's Chuck Todd.
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Pete Buttigieg said in an interview with "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd that if elected president, he would have no problem with President Donald Trump being prosecuted after he has left office.

In an interview to air Sunday, Buttigieg said he wants to focus "on how we can make people's lives better" if elected president, but justice could also be served.

"America can do many things at the same time, but it's not the president's job" to prosecute a former president, Buttigieg said.

Watch more of Chuck Todd's interview with Pete Buttigieg on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday morning.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller's spring report on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election detailed numerous occasions in which Trump might have allegedly obstructed justice. Democrats in the House have been weighing whether or not to pursue impeachment proceedings in earnest as a result.

"If in parallel there are investigations going on into criminal behavior by people who were formerly at some of the highest levels in our government, so be it," said Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Buttigieg said in the interview that Trump hasn't respected the role of the Department of Justice as an independent law enforcement agency.

"He's treated it like it ought to be his own personal law firm," he said.

Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said prosecuting Trump wouldn't be a litmus test for his choice of attorney general should he win the election.

"Prosecution decisions shouldn't be made by politicians in that sense," he said.

"What I will say is any attorney general that I would appoint is somebody who will faithfully apply the concept that no one is above the law," he added. "That everybody ought to be held accountable."

"Justice is blind," he said. "And I will appoint an attorney general and, for that matter, justices and judges who uphold that principle."

Buttigieg said during an MSNBC town hall June 3 that he would vote to impeach the president if he were in Congress and the matter was up for a vote. Trump, he said at the time, "deserves to be impeached."