“Lock her up, lock her up, lock her up!” Crowd at the Republican National Convention chanting to imprison Hillary Clinton, July 18, 2016.
“You’re right. You’re exactly right. There’s nothing wrong with that!” Gen. Michael Flynn responding from the podium.
Sixteen months later, on Dec. 1, 2017, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI, a felony. In contrast, Hillary Clinton has never been indicted, let alone convicted, for any crime, even after over 25 years of unending investigations. But this is the Republican pattern. Their leaders get indicted, convicted, and sent to prison, and Republicans still point to Democrats as being corrupt.
I have a conservative friend who blames former FBI Director James Comey for the fact that Hillary Clinton is not in jail. She and other conservatives conveniently forget that during the Obama administration, Republicans controlled Congress for six years. They held what seemed like endless hearings on Hillary Clinton, spending over $22 million taxpayer dollars. The investigations continued for years, and what was the result? Zero indictments, let alone convictions.
Republicans could find nothing to charge Clinton with, and they would have if they could. It’s not Comey’s fault for not indicting Clinton. There was nothing to indict her for. Not one member of the Obama Executive Branch was ever indicted for anything. Zero. In reality, Democratic administrations are far less corrupt than Republican administrations. The numbers clearly show this.
Since 1968, as of December 2016, Democrats held the White House for 20 years, Republicans for 28 years. During those years, the Democratic Executive Branch had a total of three criminal indictments, resulting in one conviction and one sentence. Republicans had 120 criminal indictments, resulting in 89 convictions and 34 sentences. (Daily Kos, 1/11/17).
That’s 40 times more indictments for Republicans than Democrats and 89 times more convictions. Trump is upholding that tradition, with 17 indictments so far, resulting in five guilty pleas and one sentencing. Republicans must think they are the “law and order” party because they have so much personal experience! (As a side note, the Nixon and Reagan administrations were the most corrupt in modern history. Trump is working hard to catch up.)
Republicans keep saying that the Mueller investigation has found nothing, ignoring all the indictments and guilty pleas. A recent poll showed that 59 percent of Americans believe the Mueller investigation hasn’t uncovered any crimes, while even more crimes are revealed as the investigation moves forward (Vox.com, 5/23/18)
What this really shows is that Trump is a persuasive liar, convincing his base that the investigation is a hoax, in spite of the facts. Trump also believes he can pardon himself for any crime, which is the mindset of an absolute dictator, not that of a president of the United States. “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” he tweeted on June 4. Imagine if Clinton had said this during his impeachment trial!
This statement proves that Trump believes he is above the law. This is, of course, completely contrary to his statement on Aug. 18, 2016, when he said, “In my administration ... no one will be above the law.” But then, for Trump, what’s new?
Trump believes he can order the Justice Department around as he orders his personal attorneys. He acts as if the federal government works for him. Trump took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That doesn’t include a “get out of jail free” card for whatever crimes he commits.
Trump’s followers still hang on every lie he tells, thinking he’s done nothing wrong. He even told Billy Bush, of Access Hollywood fame, that lying was okay. “Billy, look, look, you just tell them and they believe it. That’s it, you just tell them and they believe it. They just do.” Maybe this is the consequence of electing a businessman for president, especially one who never had to answer to anyone but himself.
Sadly, no matter how many times these facts are presented, there are people who will flat-out refuse to believe them. When people refuse to look at facts and choose to believe a pathological liar, it’s very hard to persuade them of anything they don’t want to hear. That’s not only frustrating for us who believe in truth, it’s risky for our country.
Blindly following anyone is dangerous, but when it’s the president of the United States, it could become catastrophic. We need to follow the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. Justice should never be partisan.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at email@example.com.