Joe Biden Says DOJ Has Become Trump's 'Private Law Firm'

joe biden campaigns charlotte NC 2020
Joe Biden speaks at the Black Economic Summit at Camp North End in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 23, 2020. It was Biden's first visit to the key 2020 battlground since bcoming the Democratic nominee for president. AFP/Getty Images/Jim Watson

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gave voters a preview of what the Department of Justice would look under his administration, saying it would be a stark contrast to what the agency has become during President Donald Trump's tenure.

"This has been the most corrupt administration in modern American history," Biden said while on the campaign trail in North Carolina on Wednesday. "The Justice Department has turned into the president's private law firm."

The former vice president noted that the agency has sought to take over Trump's defense in a defamation lawsuit from writer E. Jean Carroll who accused him of rape—a charge Trump has denied. Earlier this month, lawyers for the Justice Department filed court papers aiming to substitute the United States for Trump, which means that the federal government would have to pay damages if any are awarded.

Biden pledged that if he wins the election in November, the Justice Department under his administration would be totally independent of his influence, saying "I will not direct them who to prosecute, how to prosecute, what to prosecute."

Most importantly, he said, he would appoint an attorney general who "understood his oath of office."

"Not a joke," Biden added.

The quip appeared to be a swipe at Attorney General William Barr, though Biden didn't explicitly say his name. Barr, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, has been accused by many in the intelligence community of acting as a defense attorney for the president rather than a top prosecutor for the nation.

Biden said he would want an official that can "move on what the professionals in the department thought had to be pursued without my interfering and saying 'no they're my friends' or 'I know them' or 'go after this person.'"

That policy would even extend toward any possible investigations into Trump himself. The Democratic nominee said he's repeatedly asked by members of the press whether, if elected, he would push for a probe into the 45th commander-in-chief.

"The answer is I'm not going to pursue prosecuting anybody," Biden said. "I'm going to do what the Justice Department says should be done and not politicize it. It's the most dangerous thing that has happened so far, the politicization of the Department of Justice. It's become the Department of Trump, and that's wrong."

The remarks were made during an economic summit with Black community members and business leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina. During the discussion, Biden highlighted aspects of his plan to "Build Back Better by Advancing Racial Equity Across the American Economy," such as investing over $70 billion in historically Black colleges and universities and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In terms of transforming the Department of Justice, specifically it's criminal justice division, Biden said he would elevate the civil rights presence in the agency so it could have access to all police department activities across the county. He also vowed to give the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice an office inside the White House.

Biden said despite the turmoil brought on by the pandemic, unemployment and racial injustice, he believes there is a "gigantic opportunity to fundamentally change the systemic racism and the system problems that exist in our system."

"As bad as things have gotten, the blinders have sort of been taken off the American people now," he said.

Joe Biden Says DOJ Has Become Trump's 'Private Law Firm' | U.S.