The right-wing world lost its collective mind on July 5 when FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau was recommending that no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton for her handling of sensitive emails. Ignoring the fact that Comey is a Republican who has been involved in investigations of the Clintons before, conservatives were absolutely certain that the fix was in, and that strings had been pulled behind the scenes in order to save the presumptive Democratic nominee from being charged with crimes.
Of course one of the loudest of those voices was Clinton’s opposite number — presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. The Donald indicated his displeasure at Comey’s announcement on Tuesday morning, calling the system “rigged” and saying the decision was “very very unfair.”
Trump continued his complaints about the FBI’s decision on Tuesday evening, when he joined The O’Reilly Factor by phone to talk about it. Host Bill O’Reilly had already acknowledged that Comey had legal history on his side by recommending against charging Clinton for negligence. But Trump had other ideas about the issue.
O’Reilly’s first question goes right to the heart of the matter for conservatives. “Do you think the FBI did an honest investigation?” he asks. Trump replies that he doesn’t want to talk about honesty (probably because he knows so little about it), and says that the announcement was “surprising.” Then he shows his complete ignorance of the process involved when he says this:
She made great mistakes, and it sounded to me like there was no choice but to convict, or to go to some form of very harsh punishment.
The candidate-who-would-be-dictator seems to have missed the fact that the FBI isn’t in the job of convicting or punishing. Their job in this case was to determine whether enough evidence of deliberate criminal activity existed to require a prosecution. But apparently in the police state Trump would like to see, law enforcement would become judge and jury.
O’Reilly wants to know if Trump thinks there was politics involved in the decision. Trump dodges the question, and instead talks about how he has “tremendous respect” for the FBI. Then he offers a reason for his belief that Clinton should be prosecuted. “Everybody knows she’s extremely guilty,” he says.
Well, there you have it. Standards of evidence be damned, Clinton should be charged because “everybody knows she’s extremely guilty.” Which, of course is exactly how things work in dictatorships. The ruler or rulers of a country — or their subordinates — determine that a person, or certain groups of people are guilty of some sort of crime or other, and the police go about rounding up those people. There may or may not be a trial. If there is, it is almost always held in front of a judge who sides with the government. And there is no such thing as a jury of your peers.
After Trump brings up the case of General David Petraeus, who gave classified information to his mistress, O’Reilly points out that the difference between the two was “intent.” Comey made it clear in his remarks that they could find no evidence of intent to violate laws on the part of Clinton. But Trump again falls back on the dictator’s position. “I think she had intent, though,” he replies.
Based on these comments, and others like them he has made on the campaign trail, a President Donald Trump would, at best, be Richard Nixon on steroids when it comes to treatment of his political enemies. At worst, Trump would be a severe test of our political system, and whether we want to maintain a republic. He continues to make it abundantly clear that he believes in something that George W. Bush once said in a joking fashion: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”
Here’s what Trump told Bill O’Reilly, via Fox News:
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