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    Trump and the debate: on jailing Hillary Clinton

    Trump and the debate: on jailing Hillary Clinton

    How will it play in Peoria?

    In last night’s debate, Donald Trump stated that if he were president Hillary Clinton would be in jail. If you look at the entire transcript, that was the last (and most extreme) statement of a much lengthier exchange that went like this:

    TRUMP: When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails — and you get a subpoena, you get a subpoena, and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails, and then you acid wash them or bleach them, as you would say, very expensive process.

    So we’re going to get a special prosecutor, and we’re going to look into it, because you know what? People have been — their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up on that.


    RADDATZ: I’m going to let you talk about e-mails.

    CLINTON: … because everything he just said is absolutely false, but I’m not surprised.

    TRUMP: Oh, really?

    CLINTON: In the first debate…


    RADDATZ: And really, the audience needs to calm down here.

    CLINTON: … I told people that it would be impossible to be fact-checking Donald all the time. I’d never get to talk about anything I want to do and how we’re going to really make lives better for people.

    So, once again, go to We have literally Trump — you can fact check him in real time. Last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so I expect we’ll have millions more fact checking, because, you know, it is — it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

    TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

    If Trump had stopped just short of the “because you’d be in jail” remark, I wonder whether there would have been all that much controversy. But it was the “jail” remark that seems to have gotten most of the attention from both sides.

    The seriousness of Trump’s remark was also in question, and for what it’s worth, I offer this statement from Trump’s campaign manager:

    Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway dismissed as “a quip” the Republican nominee’s threat at Sunday night’s debate to “jail” Hillary Clinton for her handling of government secrets if he becomes president…

    “That was a quip. And I saw in NBC’s own reporting it was referred to as a quip, so I’ll go with NBC on it. He had already finished his statement. She said something like ‘that’s why you’ll never be president,’ and he said ‘you’d be in jail.’ And so that was his answer,” Conway said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

    But Trump’s own social media director and senior adviser, Dan Scavino Jr., tweeted out the “quip” at about 2 a.m. Monday, complete with a black-and-white photo of a resolute-looking Trump standing at a lectern.

    Conway said Trump was not joking about the special prosecutor but was instead “channeling the frustration he hears from thousands of voters out on the stump every day. And they’re very frustrated that she has a different set of rules for her.”

    So Conway is saying that although the special prosecutor was a real promise, the “jail” remark was a joke. Who knows, though, whether Trump would actually appoint one? And could he do so?:

    But former attorneys general under Republican and Democratic administrations said presidents don’t get to decide on the appointment of a special prosecutor.

    “I don’t conceive of that as something that’s in the authority of the president,” said Michael Mukasey, who was attorney general under President George W. Bush and has been an outspoken critic of Clinton for her use of the private email server.

    Mukasey and other former Justice Department heads said the president can request a special investigator be named, but it’s up to the attorney general whether to actually appoint one.

    Federal law states: “The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted.”

    Mukasey told ABC News, “The president can say what they want to happen, but the attorney general’s proper response would be, ‘That’s interesting, I’ll take a look. But I decide that, you don’t.’

    On the other hand—as the Obama DOJ has shown—because the president gets to appoint the Attorney General in the first place, he or she can try to appoint a simpatico person willing to do his/her bidding.

    Trump’s opponents have quickly seized on his statement (or quip) as evidence of his banana republic extra-judicial tendencies—for example, here’s Ezra Klein:

    …[T]hreatening to jail one’s political opponents — is how democratic norms die…

    …[W]e believe that political disagreement should be legal.

    Donald Trump doesn’t seem to care about all that.

    In his last line — “you’d be in jail” — he is outright saying that he would imprison Hillary Clinton in office (if he could). This comes despite the fact that there is no evidence Clinton committed a crime in her handling of the email servers, despite lengthy investigations that found evidence of carelessness and dishonesty. That would be a politically motivated prosecution — retribution for daring to run against Trump and attack him during the campaign.

    This is everything we feared about Donald Trump.

    From the context of Trump’s remarks, however, it is clear that what Trump was talking about was not his opposition to Clinton politically, but her conduct regarding security and her private email server, in particular her lack of compliance with a subpoena. And Trump was not speaking of an extra-judicial proceeding, just implying that under his administration a special prosecutor would have been appointed, recommended charges, and Trump believes Clinton would have been found guilty.

    But he didn’t exactly say it that way, did he? And the way he did say it left him open to accusations of the type Klein has leveled. That’s what Trump often does, and you either like it or you don’t.

    However, I’m wondering how the middle-of-the-road undecideds will see it, not the partisans. After all, the partisans on both sides are dug in, and the undecideds may hold the key to this election. Will they be swayed by arguments like Klein’s? Or will they applaud Trump’s feistiness? I confess that I do not know.

    Or aren’t they paying much attention at all?

    [NOTE: In case you’re unfamiliar with the somewhat archaic reference in the title of this post, it’s based on an old show biz term, “traditionally used to ask whether a given product, person, promotional theme, or event will appeal to mainstream…America, or across a broad range of demographic and psychographic groups.”]

    [Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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    Common Sense | October 11, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Lock her up!, Lock her up!, Lock her up!

    It’s a great chant for a rally. But what they want is for the rule of law to be followed! We all heard what the FBI found and there is no reason that this was not sent to trial.

    There is Clinton justice and normal people justice!
    It’s not the same justice and it’s not fair justice.

    Obama has severally damaged the rule of law but Crooked Hillary will finish it off.

    stevewhitemd | October 11, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Unless one believes Trump intends to suspend the Constitution, then to believe that Clinton would end up in jail under a Trump Administration is to believe a jury of 12 ordinary citizens would put her there by concurring in his AG’s decision to prosecute her, his district attorney’s presentation of evidence, and a judge interpreting the law for them.

    Furthermore, the logical corollary is that the only reason she’s not in jail now is that the Obama Administration declines to prosecute her, because we know that if they did, a jury would surely vote for conviction.

    Perhaps a Hillary supporter could explain to me how they think the woman has done nothing wrong. But if one really, truly, wholeheartedly believed that Hillary was as innocent as the proverbial newborn babe, the correct response to Trump’s suggestion would be to laugh and say, “oh ha ha bring it on, idiot — no jury in the world would ever convict her!”

    But her supporters don’t believe that, do they? They KNOW a jury would convict her. That isn’t what I’d call a ringing endorsement of the woman’s character — and this is by people who presumably like her and want her as president.

      OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 11, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      1st of all, there are countries where the opposition does get convicted on one charge or another.

      2nd. Clinton has admitted to error. She doesn’t claim to be innocent as a new born babe. She just hasn’t done anything criminal.

      But what is Trump going to do when he loses. The NY Attorney General is looking closely at Trump’s Foundation and other irregularities. If Spitzer could be brought down for using his own money to pay for a prostitute, nailing Trump should be child’s play.

      Trump will be bankrupt, anyway. His brand isn’t going to be worth anything was he loses by a landslide.

        Actually….THAT is a perfect example of your double standards.

        Here you are crying like a baby about a quip (which the VAST majority of people found amusing on so many levels) and how mean Donald was because you know, she’s a woman YET breathlessly raised without objection the POLITICAL move in NY to dig dirt up on Trump (for, what, something like .000001% of what the Clinton Foundation has done).

        Yes, the left in a nutshell…well…that and the fact lefties have absolutely NO sense of humour.


          OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to mailman. | October 12, 2016 at 8:57 am

          Lefties don’t have a sense of humor? OK. Don’t see much point to argue over that because there is absolutely no humor in your post and no evidence that you are in a position to judge.

          BTW, ever heard of George Carlin?

          Meanwhile, Trump is the one in jeopardy.

            Hahahahahahhahaa…you respond to a claim that lefties have no sense of humour by doing what cry baby lefties always do…have a sook! 🙂 Oh the irony!!! 🙂

            OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to OnlyRightDissentAllowed. | October 12, 2016 at 10:34 am

            @mailman Congratulations – you have identified a winning issue! Lefties have no sense of humor. I admit it. No lefty has EVER had a sense of humor.

            Now you can take your fingers off the keyboard and put your thumb back in your mouth. No humor intended.

            and now the over reaction….hahahahahahahahaha…f8ck it must be terrible being a lefty with feelings…seeing all those injustices being levelled against every minority group on the face of the planet…just terrible!!! Hahahahahahaha 🙂

            OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to OnlyRightDissentAllowed. | October 13, 2016 at 8:51 am

            @mailman Yes, it is. But it is comforting to know that your kind is losing.

            BTW, it is now clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Trump was not joking. He keeps repeating it over and over and he is red in the face.

            If he is lucky, he will not end up in jail from irregularities in the Trump Foundation, Trump U and a number of other transgressions that are now coming to light. Boy is he going to be sorry he ran for president and shed a bright light on his despicable conduct.

            Still laughing? Then you are a fool.

    1. Joe Peoria ( and I live close to Peoria ), would say that the way he interpreted “you’d be in jail” is that Hillary could not survive the scrutiny of a strict investigation, and needs to win to prevent such an investigation.

    2. Trump may not be able to appoint a special prosecutor. He can suggest to the AG, who he does appoint,

      RodFC in reply to RodFC. | October 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      oh shoot. That’s what happens when you popst to multiple forums at once.

      To finish:
      2. Trump may not be able to appoint a special prosecutor. He can suggest to the AG, who he does appoint, that he appoint a special prosecutor. The people in Peoria probably figure that any impartial AG would appoint a special prosecutor.

      3. In the third debate, he should demand of Loretta Lynch why she hasn’t asked for a special prosecutor.

    Why people think Trump is a great orator is beyond me. Obviously the President and his administration gave Hillary political cover which helped her avoid serious legal problems during her election campaign. Whether those legal problems would have resulted in jail time is highly debatable but they certainly could have been a career ender similar to what happened to General Petraeus.

    If Trump had just said that, he’d be fine. Of course he has to take it a step further with the “you’d be in jail” remark, which makes it sound that he as President would ensure she would be convicted and get a jail sentence and that’s far outside a President’s authority. Any attempt could create a constitutional crisis that ended with the President’s impeachment and/or resignation (see Richard Nixon).

    Also in my view, the reason Obama helped and is still helping Hillary is because he needs an appointment from his successor to jump start his ex-Pesident career. if Hillary does win, I’d expect to see Obama in a UN role or something similar within a year.

      RodFC in reply to tyates. | October 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Also in my view, the reason Obama helped and is still helping Hillary is because he needs an appointment from his successor to jump start his ex-Pesident career. if Hillary does win, I’d expect to see Obama in a UN role or something similar within a year.

      Boy you’ve just made me think.

      Hmm. I thought that Hillary would appoint Supreme Court Justice Slick Willie but I can totally see her saying “Listen you p***ychaser you nearly f***ed it up for me. You blew it.”
      and then appointing
      Supreme Court Justice Barrak Hussein Obama .


        Henry Hawkins in reply to RodFC. | October 11, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        Having already been a two term American president, if Obama has his sights on the UN, it will be as Secretary-General and no lower. A president Hillary could not make that happen for him. She could appoint him US ambassador to the UN, but I’m certain that’s small potatoes to an ego like Obama’s.

        OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to RodFC. | October 11, 2016 at 5:31 pm

        Obama for SCOTUS. Great idea. Now if only they pull out the file on Roberts, he can be Chief. Brilliant, simply brilliant!

        Obama has zero interest in being on the Supreme Court. He’s lazy-intellectually and professionally, and he undoubtedly sees himself, the man who will cause the oceans to recede and the healer of the planet, as far too important to bother with such menial labor as that of the SCOTUS.

          OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | October 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm

          I guess you missed that tongue-in-cheek thing. I thought suggesting they could oust Roberts with a secret file was a dead give-away. Do they have a secret file on him. Does he talk about pornography? No, that was Thomas.

          BTW, I am not sure how hard the Justices work. They each have a bunch of eager beaver clerks.

          RodFC in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | October 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm

          Please. Obama is a big blowhard to likes to lecture everyone.

          What could be more fitting then writing opinions for a living?

            LOL, Rod! Good point. He’d have to know the law, though, and he doesn’t. He will never ever spend the time it takes to bone up, either. And no army of interns will ever be able to help him because he’s intellectually lazy and hasn’t got a curious bone in his body that might make him interested in learning. Nothing says manifest loser on the law level than being the editor of the Harvard Law Review and somehow managing to never publish even one scholarly or professional article on law. He’s a coaster, a puppet, an empty suit perched precariously near an empty chair. He simply couldn’t cut it on the Supreme Court.

            Barry in reply to RodFC. | October 12, 2016 at 12:39 am

            ” He’d have to know the law, though, and he doesn’t.”

            Hasn’t stopped him before…

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