All through the last stages of the campaign, Donald Trump kept up the “lock her her up” mantra seeming to promise that Hillary Clinton would be subject a professional rather than Comey-ized investigation and more likely than not end up prosecuted. And who among us can deny that they have at times indulged in a fantasy of Clinton wearing a shabby orange jumpsuit and bringing some Rosey O’Donnell lookalike sandwiches from the prison canteen.
In recent days, Trump was reported to have steered away from this promise:
From his interview with the New York Times:
MAGGIE HABERMAN, political reporter: I’ll start, thank you, Dean. Mr. President, I’d like to thank you for being here. This morning, Kellyanne Conway talked about not prosecuting Hillary Clinton. We were hoping you could talk about exactly what that means — does that mean just the emails, or the emails and the foundation, and how you came to that decision.
(Haberman, if you recall, is the tame reporter the Clinton campaigned bragged could always be relied upon to “tee up” stories for them.
TRUMP: Well, there was a report that somebody said that I’m not enthused about it. Look, I want to move forward, I don’t want to move back. And I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t…
SULZBERGER: If I could interject, we had a good conversation there, you and I, and it was off the record, but there was nothing secret, just wanted to make sure. The idea of looking forward was one of the themes that you were saying. That we need to now get past the election, right?
MATTHEW PURDY, deputy managing editor: So you’re definitively taking that off the table? The investigation?
TRUMP: No, but the question was asked.
PURDY: About the emails and the foundation?
TRUMP: No, no, but it’s just not something that I feel very strongly about…
But any fair reading of this interview has to include the very definitive statement by Trump that he was not taking the investigation of Clinton off the table.
Then the recount happened:
And now Roger Stone surfaces. Heaven knows I’m no fan of Roger Stone, in fact he easily makes any pantheon of odious douchebags, but there is no denying that he has been used as a Trump surrogate for over a year. So his latest utterance bears some contemplation.
Roger Stone, the Republican strategist and campaign confidant of Donald Trump, suggested Monday without evidence that Hillary Clinton is more likely to face prosecution under the president-elect’s administration because her campaign is cooperating with Jill Stein’s recount effort.
Again offering no evidence, Stone told Steve Malzberg that “we have to presume” that the money funding the Stein campaign’s call for a recount is from billionaire donor George Soros or from Clinton, who lost the White House to Trump this month in a major upset.
“Now Hillary, I think, increases her chances of prosecution by acting this way,” Stone concluded.
In fact, Stone is saying in much starker terms what Kellyanne Conway hinted at on CNN’s State of the Union this past Sunday:
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 27, 2016
And so he said he wouldn’t rule it out. He said it’s just not his focus right now. I think he’s being quite magnanimous and at the same time he’s not undercutting at all the authority and the autonomy of the Department of Justice, of the FBI, of the House Committees, who knows where the evidence may lead if, in fact, it were — if the investigation were re-opened somewhere.
But this is the president-elect’s position right now and I would say he has been incredibly gracious and magnanimous to Secretary Clinton at a time when for whatever reason her folks are saying they will join in a recount to try to somehow undo the 70 plus electoral votes that he beat her by. I mean this — you know, I was asked on CNN and elsewhere, goodness a thousand times, will Donald Trump accept the election results? And now you’ve got the Democrats and Jill Stein saying they do not accept the election results. She congratulated him and conceded to him on election night. I was right there. And the idea that we are going to drag this out now where the president-elect has been incredibly magnanimous to the Clintons and to the Obamas is incredible.
I’m not sure it is a great idea or even the best punishment for Clinton but it would certainly go some distance to reiterating to the Democrats that this is a nation built on the rule of law and not on the divine right of Democrat politicians to avoid prosecution. And I think Hillary Clinton ignores these statements at her peril. She has created enough ill will with Republicans over the past quarter century that few would have any compunction about seeing her prosecuted. Her joining in with Jill Stein on a recount in Wisconsin is a petulant act that seems to have no greater purpose than to burnish Clinton’s shaken standing in the Democrat party. Trump, as we’ve seen, can be extremely petty when it comes to answering attacks. He wouldn’t have to do anything more than let Jeff Sessions know that he had a free rein and Hillary Clinton would be in for a very interesting few years.