On Sunday night, Donald Trump threatened Hillary Clinton with prison time. According to CNN, the Republican presidential candidate in an astonishing threat told Clinton that if he won the November U.S. elections, he would seek to imprison her.
“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your [missing email] situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.”
When Clinton called his claims false and unproven, adding it was good “that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Trump finished her sentence by adding, “because you’d be in jail.”
Both Republicans and Democrats have objected to the 70-year-old’s threat directed at Hillary Clinton, dismissing it as dangerously authoritarian. Clinton had faced plenty of criticism for the use of a private email server as Secretary of State.
However, after a 12-month investigation, FBI Director James Comey had concluded that Clinton and her staffers were “extremely careless” in their managing of classified information. No criminal charges were brought against the former Secretary of state. The failure of the FBI to indict Clinton on more serious charges has been a reoccurring decimal in the Trump campaign.
Some Trump supporters have said the Manhattan billionaire was just trying to be funny. However, members of both parties have said such blatant behavior contradicts the tenets of a democratic government, adding that jailing political opponents is typical of antidemocratic countries and should never be associated with a leader of the free world.
Observers are shocked with the words “you’d be in jail” from the Republican presidential nominee and say it smacks of politically motivated prosecution. They say Trump doling out punishment to Hillary would be seen as payback for daring to attack him during the debates leading to the November elections.
Neutrals fear this latest incident once again serves as ample proof of how thin-skinned Trump can be and his inability to let things go. Observers argue that if elected president, Trump would use his powers to silence critics and harass opponents like dictators in Zimbabwe and North Korea.
Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, said Trump got it wrong on all fronts.
“Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. Presidents don’t threaten prosecution of individuals…Trump is wrong on this.”
After the U.S. presidential debate Sunday night, Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, said Trump’s utterances showed he had no understanding of the political process. According to Federal regulations, it is the attorney general and not the president that appoints a special prosecutor.
Trump’s campaign chief, Kellyanne Conway, argued that Donald Trump was speaking for the millions of Americans who believed that Hillary Clinton had escaped serious crimes with only a slap on the wrist.
“Donald Trump is channeling the frustration of a lot of Americans he hears from…different set of rules for this woman, as goes her emails.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder had likened Donald Trump’s threat to the stance taken by President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Nixon had instructed his attorney general, Elliot Richardson, to sack the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. Richardson had refused and resigned.
“When Nixon tried that his AG courageously resigned…Trump is dangerous/unfit.”
When Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus was instructed to do same, he also refused and resigned. An embarrassed President Nixon ended up appointing an acting attorney general, Robert Bork, to get the deed done. Less than a year later, President Nixon resigned and was disgraced out of office.
Last week, a leaked tape of Trump talking about wanting to sleep with a married woman emerged. The controversy the tape generated led to fellow Republicans withdrawing their support for the 70-year-old billionaire. Trump has brushed off his comments as “locker room talk”, but a former producer on his show The Apprentice has revealed that Trump has said much worse on set.
Was Donald Trump right to threaten Hillary Clinton with prison time over the email scandal?
[Featured Image by Rick T. Wilking/AP Images]