Concerns about the Biden administration’s likely trajectory grew this weekend, as the president-elect announced some of his appointments, and as separate discussions emerged about Biden potentially pardoning Trump and some of his criminal minions. Both stories suggest grave failures of accountability to human rights and to the Democratic base.

This election was a referendum on the failed Trump presidency. But beyond inadequate, disappointing, and corrupt policies, the president also engaged in crimes against our Republic ranging from human rights abuses to incitement to violence, lies to the press, and the misappropriation of public funds to enrich himself and his family.  This is the reason Biden won.

To pardon such unapologetic offenses would effectively invite more in the future. It is the dangerous counterpoint to the impunity revealed by the legacy of the Bush administration.  Because the Obama administration declined to hold accountable Bush era Officials who’s authorized international human rights abuses, those criminals were recently recycled under the Trump administration as, for instance, a Justice of the Supreme Court and Director of the CIA.

As I wrote 11 years ago, “while President Obama’s aim to “look forward, not backward,” may resemble a thoughtful political compromise, it is an illegal capitulation to illegitimate political interests carrying profound consequences for human rights and freedom both in the U.S. and around the world.” I wish reality had not proven me right.

Beyond his apparent receptivity to pardoning the worst constitutional crimes in many generations, Biden has also announced preliminary cabinet appointments giving rise to concerns. His Secretary of State nominee is a longtime Obama advisor who supported every war over the generation.  Biden was elected with a mandate for change, not to continue the abuses of the past.

Similarly, Biden’s early appointments on climate suggest a deference to the fossil fuel industry. While John Kerry was named an envoy for climate change, he lacks a cabinet position, and his opportunities to assert policy influence remain unclear and uncertain.

Finally, and most alarmingly, Rahm Emanuel has been discussed for a potential cabinet level role in the Biden administration despite his documented history working to cover up racist police violence Mayor of Chicago. Allowing him to return to Washington would be a failure of accountability- and a thumb in the eye of the communities who put Biden in office.

I’m eager to hold the Democratic establishment accountable — and would love to hear your ideas about how we can best support your activism. Have suggestions, or action opportunities that we can share with our grassroots supporters? Drop me an email at [email protected].