Trump Being Arrested Over Clinton Threat Isn’t Crazy, Here’s The Statute That Could Put Him Away

Donald Trump alluded to the assassination of his rival, Hillary Clinton, during a campaign rally on Tuesday afternoon. His remarks crossed a very bold line in the sand and could feasibly land the billionaire bully behind bars.

To be clear, it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever face real consequences for inciting violence against his presidential rival, but there are solid grounds to prosecute.

According to federal criminal law, Trump has gone way too far this time. Here is the statute that could put him away:

18 U.S.C. § 879 : US Code – Section 879: Threats against former Presidents and certain other persons

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon – (1) a former President or a member of the immediate family of a former President; (2) a member of the immediate family of the President, the President-elect, the Vice President, or the Vice President-elect; (3) a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate; or (4) a person protected by the Secret Service under section 3056(a)(6); shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both. (b) As used in this section – (1) the term “immediate family” means – (A) with respect to subsection (a)(1) of this section, the wife of a former President during his lifetime, the widow of a former President until her death or remarriage, and minor children of a former President until they reach sixteen years of age; and (B) with respect to subsection (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section, a person to whom the President, President-elect, Vice President, Vice President-elect, or major candidate for the office of President or Vice President – (i) is related by blood, marriage, or adoption; or (ii) stands in loco parentis; (2) the term “major candidate for the office of President or Vice President” means a candidate referred to in subsection (a)(7) of section 3056 of this title; and (3) the terms “President-elect” and “Vice President-elect” have the meanings given those terms in section 871(b) of this title.

Legendary journalist Dan Rather questioned the legal ramifications of Trump’s comments as well.

“This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival,” Rather declared. “It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a Presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?”

During a campaign rally on Tuesday, Trump told the crowd that if Hillary Clinton were to become president, she would appoint Supreme Court justices who would take all their guns. Naturally. He then leapt over the previously mentioned line in the sand line and suggested that “Second Amendment” people are the only ones who can stop her.

Following widespread condemnation of his remarks, Trump’s campaign tried to say the GOP nominee only meant that the “Second Amendment” folks could stop her from taking their guns by voting for him instead. Certainly, he didn’t just call for the assassination of his opponent. Why would you think something like that?

Featured image via Scott Eisen/Getty Images

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