“Down in Texas, where I come from, we just go out and get a man and string him up.”
“That’s right!” From the 1943 movie, “The Ox-Bow Incident”
Lynch mobs are terrifying. Raw emotions take over and the rule of law gets pushed aside in favor of vengeance. This is what happened during the recent Republican Convention when the crowd was chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” They wanted to send Hillary Clinton to jail even though she’s never been indicted for any crimes, let alone convicted. Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., who should have known better, aided and abetted by screaming, “Guilty or not guilty!?” That’s not a trial. That’s a lynch mob.
Hillary Clinton has been accused of an almost unlimited number of crimes. She may be one of the most investigated people in history. I could list all the claims of crimes committed, but Republicans have them memorized, so I won’t bother. The one thing Republicans haven’t memorized is that no charges were ever brought against Hillary after any of these investigations.
For something to be a crime, there must be a law against it. That may sound obvious, but there are many actions which are immoral, unethical, and just plain stupid, which are not illegal. There are also actions which may be illegal under some circumstances but not under others. For example, if I point a gun at you and shoot with intent to kill, that’s a crime. If we’re looking at your gun and it accidently goes off and kills you, that’s a tragedy but not a crime.
After the year-long FBI investigation into the use of a private server to handle Hillary’s State Department emails, the FBI director said there was no evidence that she broke any laws. He said this was a careless, reckless action, but she had not deliberately and intentionally mishandled any classified information and she never lied to the FBI. Comey emphasized the concept of “intent” in explaining why he wouldn’t recommend pressing charges. A conservative friend of mine said that if anyone else had done this, they would be in jail, but a contemporaneous case proves that allegation isn’t true.
General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA, mishandled classified information by deliberately handing over eight notebooks of classified information to his mistress, a violation of the Espionage Act. Officials said the files contained code words for secret intelligence programs and the identities of covert officers. When this action was discovered, Petraeus lied to the FBI, which is a felony. To avoid a trial, Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified material. He got two years probation, no prison time. He had to resign as CIA Director but kept his military pension.
Petraeus intentionally mishandled classified material and he’s a hero to Republicans. Hillary didn’t intentionally send classified material to anyone she shouldn’t have and Republicans want to crucify her.
Republicans constantly claim Hillary is a liar. The truth is, a Politifact study showed she was the most honest presidential candidate in this election, while Trump told so many lies he was named the 2015 Liar of the Year. Here’s just one example of Trump’s disdain for the truth.
When Trump University was founded, Trump made very specific promises to potential students. After students paid tens of thousands of dollars to Trump University and didn’t receive what was promised, they sued. The fraud trial starts in late November. Guess what Trump’s defense is.
Trump’s lawyers said these students should have known he was lying. If they were stupid enough to believe him, that was their fault. This isn’t a joke; this is his defense. Trump lies as easily as he breathes, and doesn’t understand the problem. I can’t wait until November when Trump has to testify under oath regarding Trump University. If he continues his current practice, he’ll end up indicted for perjury, which will be one more indictment than Hillary Clinton has ever had.
If lying is the Republican criteria, they should run screaming from Trump. Almost everything he says is a lie, but his followers don’t seem to care. So it’s not lying that bothers them. I’d say they should be honest about that, but perhaps that’s an oxymoron.
President Obama has been a good president who hasn’t done any of the terrible things predicted by the right wing. Hillary will also be a good, solid president; she may be a little boring, but she’ll keep America moving forward. And that’s exactly what we need.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.