Today’s news that President-elect Trump will not seek to press for an investigation of Hillary Clinton disappointed his supporters and offered an “I told you so” moment to his critics.
In an interview with New York Times writers, Trump stated:
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.”
He added, “We’ll have people that do things,” without any explanation as to who might do what. The Times speculated he might mean the FBI or Republicans in Congress investigating issues related to Clinton’s emails or the Clinton Foundation.
It’s a completely different tone than Trump took during the October debate, in which he told Hillary:
“I am going to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.”
There’s no doubt the campaign was brutal for everyone, and it clearly was for Hillary too. It’s noble that Trump wants Hillary to have healing, but his compassion is misdirected.
Our country is what needs healing, not Hillary. If her use of a private email server and the quid-pro-quo allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation are not fully and independently investigated, it will be difficult for the factions in this country to move forward.
The people who voted for Trump, who gave him his “surprise” victory, are people who are frustrated that the elites in Washington have ignored them and their needs for decades. They’re tired of the establishment, and even the pundits who were so disconnected that they missed their motivation:
They missed the fundamental understanding that the voters in Pennsylvania were upset at their loss of power.
Not the kind of power you see in Washington, but power in the sense that these people see a diminishing respect for them and their ways of life, their work ethic, their tendency to not be mobile.
Part of the “way of life” the Washington and media elite don’t understand is a belief in the rule of law, and that everyone is – or should be – equal under the law. They’ve felt that the deck was stacked against them, that they had to play by a different set of rules than the privileged elite, and that, while many of them were white, they certainly didn’t enjoy any “privilege.” To these voters, Hillary Clinton embodies everything they detest.
It’s not only the Trump voters who feel that way. Disaffected conservatives have given up hope that a politician will ever be held accountable for their actions in the same way any ordinary citizen would, and neither group trusts the results of the “investigation” that has taken place to date.
Hillary Clinton’s actions should absolutely be independently investigated. But that’s not to say that Trump himself should be the one pushing an investigation or indictment of Hillary Clinton. As David French at National Review writes:
The president simply shouldn’t be targeting any individual American for prosecution. Nor should he, without using his power to pardon, relieve any American from lawful investigations or prosecutions. He can and should set policy priorities, but individual prosecutions should be left to investigators and prosecutors who follow the evidence and the law to seek justice without regard for politics. Yes, I know that politics intrudes on the process all too often, but each such intrusion represents a violation of trust and should not, ever, set a precedent.
If Trump were to bombastically push for an investigation or indictment or to “lock her up” as he did on the campaign trail, Hillary’s supporters would never accept the results of the investigation. But an investigation, initiated and conducted in the proper way, without outside influence, must take place. To leave the matter alone at this point would leave Hillary’s supporters claiming that the entire episode was politically motivated, and would leave the rest of the country with no choice but to believe that “equality before the law” is an antiquated principle.