Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Opinion | Trump wants to be treated like Clinton on classified documents? Sounds good

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Donald Trump and his MAGA mouthpieces say the previous president must be handled the identical means Hillary Clinton was — and so they’re proper!

Ever for the reason that FBI discovered containers upon containers of presidency secrets and techniques hoarded at his resort residence, Trump has complained that he’s being held to a unique normal from the one utilized to Clinton through the probe of her personal e-mail server in 2016. “Completely nothing has occurred to carry her accountable,” Trump claimed when he confirmed the search of Mar-a-Lago.

The editorial board of the Murdoch-owned Wall Road Journal argued this week that there’s a “Clinton Normal for treating a distinguished politician who mishandles categorized paperwork” and that there shouldn’t be “a unique normal for Mr. Trump.”

On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted — and justified — violence over the imagined double normal. “In the event that they tried to prosecute President Trump for mishandling categorized info after Hillary Clinton arrange a server in her basement, there actually will probably be riots on the street,” Graham instructed former congressman Trey Gowdy (R-Benghazi) on Fox Information.

Trump promptly posted Graham’s violent fantasy (the newest of a number of from GOP officers claiming a Clinton double normal) on his Fact Social platform.

For months, voters have been telling Republicans they’re bored with listening to Trump and his allies relitigating the 2020 election. Lastly, Republicans are shifting on. They’re now relitigating 2016. Seven and a half years after the world discovered of Clinton’s personal server, GOP leaders cry anew: However her emails!

So, by all means, let’s relitigate. Actually, Trump must be handled precisely the best way Clinton was:

The FBI ought to undertake a sprawling, multiyear investigation into Trump’s conduct, grilling him and his workers, working in depth forensics, and inspecting whether or not his actions allowed hostile actors to compromise U.S. safety. The FBI ought to proceed to maintain him below investigation whereas he runs for president in 2024.

In July 2024, after Trump secures the GOP nomination, the top of the FBI ought to break with long-standing Justice Division protocols and publicly announce that whereas he doesn’t advocate prosecuting Trump, Trump was “extraordinarily careless” with categorized info, that “any affordable individual” in Trump’s place would have recognized their actions have been inappropriate, that “it’s attainable that hostile actors gained entry” to authorities secrets and techniques, and that “there’s proof of potential violations” of legislation.

Then, 13 days earlier than the 2024 election, a prime official with the Democratic nominee’s marketing campaign ought to announce that he has heard by way of leaks by “lively” FBI brokers of a coming “shock” associated to the Trump investigation.

Eleven days earlier than the election, the FBI director, in another breach of protocol, ought to ship a public letter to Congress saying that he has reopened the investigation into Trump due to new, “pertinent” info.

Two days earlier than the election, the FBI director ought to say the brand new info introduced in his earlier bombshell amounted to nothing. However by then it’s too late: The information of the reopened probe will dominate protection within the closing days of the marketing campaign, and, analyses will show, trigger Trump to lose an election he in any other case would have gained.

That’s exactly what occurred to Clinton in 2016. And Trump desires to be held to the identical normal? Nicely, truthful is truthful.

MAGA Republicans must be cautious what they want for as they reply to each growth in Trump’s authorized saga with matches of whataboutism: What about Clinton? What about Hunter Biden? Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz even penned “A Protection of ‘Whataboutism’ ” for the Wall Road Journal.

In the event that they actually need Trump to be handled the best way Clinton was in 2016, they’ll even have to rearrange for him to be the topic of “lock him up” chants at Democratic rallies and for the Democratic nominee’s advisers and distinguished backers to say that Trump must be “executed,” “shot” and hanged.

Preliminarily, Trump’s case seems a lot more serious than Clinton’s. Clinton mishandled a small quantity of categorized info. (Of tens of hundreds of emails, three have been marked categorized and about 100 had unmarked categorized materials.) Trump apparently made off with boxes containing more than 700 pages of classified material, together with among the most delicate forms of intelligence, and refused to offer it again — even below subpoena. Nonetheless to be decided: Trump’s motive and the harm to nationwide safety.

The Clinton “normal” wasn’t ever any assure to not prosecute her. It was what FBI Director James B. Comey outlined in July 2016:

“All of the circumstances prosecuted concerned some mixture of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of categorized info; or huge portions of supplies uncovered in such a means as to help an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the USA; or efforts to impede justice.”

In Clinton’s case, Comey concluded, “We don’t see these issues.” And Trump? Equity requires that he be held to that very same normal.

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