Using presidential powers to go after political enemies is a big no-no.
Courtesy of NYT:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a tenuous hold on his job when President Trump called him at home in the middle of 2017. The president had already blamed him for recusing himself from investigations related to the 2016 election, sought his resignation and belittled him in private and on Twitter.
Now, Mr. Trump had another demand: He wanted Mr. Sessions to reverse his recusal and order the prosecution of Hillary Clinton.
“The ‘gist’ of the conversation,” according to the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, quoting Mr. Sessions, “was that the president wanted Sessions to unrecuse from ‘all of it.’”
Mr. Mueller’s report released last week brimmed with examples of Mr. Trump seeking to protect himself from the investigation. But his request of Mr. Sessions — and two similar ones detailed in the report — stands apart because it shows Mr. Trump trying to wield the power of law enforcement to target a political rival, a step that no president since Richard M. Nixon is known to have taken.
No evidence has emerged that Mr. Sessions ever ordered the case reopened. Like many of Mr. Trump’s aides, as laid out in the report and other accounts, Mr. Sessions instead declined to act, preventing Mr. Trump from crossing a line that might have imperiled his presidency.
Instead, Mr. Sessions asked a Justice Department official in November 2017 to review claims by the president and his allies about Mrs. Clinton and the F.B.I.’s handling of the investigation into ties between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia. The department’s inspector general had already been scrutinizing the issues and painted a harsh portrait of the bureau in a report last year but found no evidence that politics had influenced the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton.
But that wasn’t enough for Trump:
Nine months into office in October 2017, he reminded Mr. Sessions in a private meeting that he believed the Justice Department was failing to investigate people who truly deserved scrutiny and mentioned Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
Two days later, Mr. Trump repeated his desires publicly, accusing law enforcement officials in a pair of tweets of “a fix” in the Clinton inquiry and asking, “Where is Justice Dept?”
A month later, Mr. Sessions found a way to satisfy Mr. Trump’s demands without opening a new investigation into Mrs. Clinton. He told Congress that he had asked the United States attorney in Utah, John W. Huber, to examine the allegations Mr. Trump and his allies made about Mrs. Clinton and the F.B.I. No charges have arisen from that examination, which is continuing.
But Mr. Trump wanted more. He pulled Mr. Sessions aside after a cabinet meeting in December 2017 and “again suggested that Sessions could ‘unrecuse,’” according to the report. A White House aide who witnessed the encounter believed Mr. Trump was talking about the since-closed Clinton investigation and the open Russia inquiry.
“I don’t know if you could unrecuse yourself,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions, according to notes taken by the aide, Rob Porter. “You’d be a hero. Not telling you to do anything.”
Noting that Alan Dershowitz, a prominent lawyer and informal adviser to Mr. Trump, said Mr. Trump had the power to order an investigation, the president took pains to suggest he was not trying to influence the attorney general.
“I don’t want to get involved. I’m not going to get involved,” the president said, according to Mr. Porter’s notes. “I’m not going to do anything or direct you to do anything. I just want to be treated fairly.”
This is now a well known Trump tactic, to make various hints that he wants his people to do something illegal or unethical while still giving himself the ability to deny that he came out and ordered that it be done.
The fact is that Trump wanted to punish Hillary Clinton, and was ready and willing to use his office to make sure that it happened just so long as it could not be directly traced back to him.
Trump has been compared to a mob boss a number of times now and the more we learn the more fitting that comparison becomes.
Man, this Mueller report is just the gift that keeps on giving.
Update: Just in case you think that Trump is over all of this Hillary stuff, well he’s not.
Last night on the Sean Hannity Show he accused Hillary of staging a coup and of destroying the lives of some members of his campaign.
Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of “destroying the lives of people that were on our campaign. She’s destroyed their lives.”
“This was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government,” the president adds, referring to the Mueller probe. pic.twitter.com/Uvfcr1mQeo
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 26, 2019
Remember that commenter the other day who suggested that Hillary should just stay quiet and spend time with her grandchildren?
Well, this is why she most certainly should not do that.