From “healing” Hillary to “going after” her
One of the mainstays of then-candidate Trump’s campaign rallies was the attendees’ “lock her up” chant, a reaction to his campaign promise to “jail crooked Hillary” Clinton.
In late November of last year, President Trump shocked many of his supporters by announcing that he would not pursue charges against Hillary Clinton. Instead, he said he was focused on bringing the country together and helping Hillary “heal.”
The Guardian reported at the time:
The president-elect told the New York Times on Tuesday that it would be “divisive” to pursue criminal investigations into the former secretary of state over her use of a private email server or conflicts of interest involving her foundation. His conciliatory tone provoked a backlash from some conservatives.
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Trump said, according to a tweet by Times journalist Mike Grynbaum. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”
Trump was then pressed on whether he had definitively ruled out a prosecution, Grynbaum reported. The president-elect replied: “It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about.”
. . . . In his conversation at the New York Times office, he rejected the idea that his supporters would be upset by his letting Clinton off the hook. “I don’t think they will be disappointed,” he said, according to a tweet by reporter Maggie Haberman. “I think I will explain it that we in many ways will save our country.”
That was then. President Trump is now (once again) threatening Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to investigate and prosecute Hillary for a range of offenses.
President Donald Trump is implicitly jabbing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, publicly lamenting the fact that the Justice Department isn’t currently investigating 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
At multiple points this week, Trump has openly criticized the Justice Department and the US justice system, firing off tweets asking for an investigation of Clinton and complaining about his lack of ability to influence the process. The complaints come less than a week after special counsel Robert Mueller handed down indictments to former members of his campaign including its former chairman, Paul Manafort.
It’s a revival of a period from the summer when Trump made a number of attacks against Sessions for failing to carry out his duties in a way that satisfied the president.
Asked point blank in a Friday press gaggle whether he would fire Sessions if he does not start to investigate Clinton, Trump said, “I don’t know.”
“I’m really not involved with the Justice Department,” Trump said. “I’d like to let it run itself. But honestly they should be looking at the Democrats. … They should be looking at a lot of things and a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”
. . . . “The saddest thing is that because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” he said. “I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI.”
Trump made the remark after being told by the host that his listeners wanted to see the DOJ go after Clinton.
“I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department. Well, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her, the dossier?” Trump said, referring to the Democratic Party-funded dossier designed to find connections between Trump and Russia that has been both partially discredited and partially corroborated.
Investigating Hillary and prosecuting any and all crimes uncovered by said investigation seems like a no-brainer now just as it did last November. But it was the president himself who said that he did not want to see Hillary “suffer” any further and who indicated that he would not pursue her alleged lawlessness.
Our nation of laws is slowly sinking into banana republic territory as Americans have come to understand that there is one set of laws for us and quite another for the politically-powerful and -connected.
Another feature of banana republics is the prosecution of one’s political enemies for political purposes. Clearly there are plenty of Hillary-related issues that should be investigated and for which, if found to be in violation of the law, she should be prosecuted. But it was the president who decided, for seemingly noble if puzzling reasons, against taking that path.
President Trump is now in the unenviable position of appearing to change his mind about pursuing the investigation and prosecution of Hillary’s alleged crimes at the exact time his administration finds itself in the beam of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s searchlight. The president’s apparent about-face on this can be used by his own political opponents as confirmation of their existing belief that he is a totalitarian monster motivated by a tit-for-tat pettiness rather than by a belief in equal justice under the law.DONATE
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