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What will Donald Trump do for the ‘lock her up’ crowd?

Demands to jail Hillary Clinton rang loudly and unchallenged through Trump’s campaign rallies. Now that he’s president-elect, will he carry it out?


 
Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton give their respective victory speeches on Super Tuesday. (AP)

Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton give their respective victory speeches on Super Tuesday. (AP)

Jason Markusoff is working to provide answers to some of the most burning questions in the wake of Donald Trump’s historic win to become president-elect of the United States. Read more of his FAQs here.

With the percussive simplicity of a high school football team repeating “go Hawks go,” Trump believers’ chants of “lock her up” rang through rally after rally. Supporters recited the incantation in the New York Hilton ballroom as they awaited Trump’s victory speech. According to CNBC, some Wall Street traders even shouted it as they watched Hillary Clinton’s morning-after concession. But by Thursday, Trump allies had begun to douse those partisan flames.

“Politics are over now. People have spoken. Time to move to uniting the country,” Chris Christie told NBC. “If [the evidence] isn’t as bad as some of the exaggerators think it is, then maybe the best thing to do is forget about it and move on,” Rudy Giuliani said on CNN. One of those back-pedallers could become Trump’s attorney-general, the official that Trump had said he’d instruct to sic a special prosecutor on Clinton over her email saga and what he alleged were “so many lies, so much deception.”

There are two things to remember about this. In the history of post-election recriminations, this is unheard of; this witch hunt would be the most egregious use of special prosecutors since Richard Nixon unsuccessfully tapped one to exonerate his team in Watergate. (Republicans with long memories might recall Obama’s 2009 prosecutor probe of Bush-era CIA interrogations, leading to no charges.) But what’s also unheard of is the fact that a presidential candidate was under an FBI investigation in the middle of a campaign—let alone that the agency would publicly muse about resurrecting its probe in the campaign’s final days. FBI director James Comey would eventually conclude (twice) that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges, which means a Trump-appointed prosecutor would likely have to find something Comey’s agency didn’t.

Trump, too, told 60 Minutes he has bigger priorities than proving the Clintons were “crooked.” He didn’t rule it out, but added: “I don’t want to hurt them. They’re good people.”

Congressional Republicans will bid to sate bloodthirsty Trump fans by continuing various investigations. Their committees can name her, shame her, and drag her back to Capitol Hill to testify. But lock her up? They can’t.


 

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