President raised the notion with Rod Rosenstein and Matthew Whitaker
President Donald Trump instructed top Justice Department officials to pursue the prosecution of Hillary Clinton, a pledge that he made during his presidential election campaign.
According to a report by CNN, Trump raised the notion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Matt Whitaker, who was chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the time.
“The President also wanted his previous White House counsel, Don McGahn, to ask the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton on numerous occasions, but McGahn rebuffed doing that,” CNN said.
During the second presidential debate in the run-up to the 2016 election, Donald Trump pointed at Hillary Clinton and issued a chilling threat:
“If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.
“There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”
Trump has repeated variations of this warning many times.
Like “Build the wall,” “Lock her up” is a core pillar of Trump’s platform.
Since the election, however, it has been treated less literally, and more metaphorically, like a generalized mantra reminding the world that Trump’s enemies are evil and deserve to be banished.
But a series of recent reports have made it clear that, although it has been fairly quiet on the “lock her up” front of late, Trump intends this threat in the most literal sense.
The New York Times reported that Trump raised the notion last spring, asking questions about prosecuting Clinton and also former FBI Director James Comey.
According to the NY Times, McGahn reportedly “rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution.
“Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power.
“To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.”
According to the Daily Wire, in 2017, Trump pressed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to study whether Clinton misdeeds called for further investigation, but Sessions pushed back on the idea of appointing a special counsel to oversee such a probe.
In a November 13, 2017 letter, the Justice Department informed Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues” the committee raised, which includes Clinton’s role in approving the sale of Uranium One and alleged illegal Clinton foundation dealings.
Also on the list was Clinton’s use of a home-brew server on which she sent thousands of unrecorded emails.
The letter directed members to “make recommendations as to whether any of the matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”
By March 2018, Sessions rejected calls from Republican lawmakers to appoint a second special counsel to investigate alleged abuse by the FBI and Department of Justice.
“I take the concerns you raise seriously,” Sessions wrote in a letter to three Congressional committee chairmen Thursday, The New York Times reported.
“No institution is perfect,” he said.
Instead, Sessions tapped Utah’s top federal prosecutor, John Huber, to look into the allegations against the FBI and DOJ, and accusations that Clinton’s alleged involvement with Uranium One were not fully investigated, CNN reported.
Trump has followed through on more campaign promises than most other US presidents, but his pledge to prosecute Hillary Clinton has, so far, yet to materialize.
Could it be possible that Trump has been working behind the scenes on, what could be, the pièces de résistance of his presidency?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.