There are reasons why Presidents never comment on pending criminal prosecutions. Anything they say will be amplified across the country and could undermine the prosecution. But, precedent never hinders Pres. Trump. Two days after the attack in New York City, Pres. Trump called for the attacker to be given the death penalty. He called for “strong” justice. Certainly, if anyone deserves “strong” justice, it is Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. He killed eight people with a rental truck. But, in making those comments, Pres. Trump actually makes it more difficult to achieve those aims. Defense lawyers will not hesitate to ask for a change in venue if the local jury pool is tainted. But, since the publicity about the attacker and the President’s comments are national, there may not be a jury pool that is not tainted.
As one former federal prosecutor said, “Mr. President, your tweet takes it harder for DOJ to impose the death penalty, not easier.” See CNN news report.
But, this is what happens when you have a President who is anxious to change the topic of the news day.