If Donald Trump had trouble staying on message early yesterday, he finished the day with a strong focus on Hillary Clinton. Responding to new revelations in both the Clinton Foundation and e-mail scandals, Trump demanded an investigation by a special prosecutor, arguing that the Department of Justice has become too political for a real probe. ABC’s Good Morning America team noted the improved focus in Trump’s attacks on Hillary, and its potential to do some damage:
Trump didn’t just focus on the current scandals, but connected dots all the way back to Arkansas:
“After the FBI and Department of Justice whitewashed Hillary Clinton’s email crimes, they certainly cannot be trusted to quickly or impartially investigate Hillary Clinton’s new crimes,” Trump said.
“The Justice Department is required to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor because it has proven itself to be really, sadly a political arm of the White House.” …
Speaking at the University of Akron, Trump also invoked the Whitewater scandal as he sought to make the case that the Clintons could no longer be trusted in office; the lively crowd was clearly receptive to his attacks. At one point, the now-ubiquitous chants of “Lock Her Up” were so sustained that Trump paused to let them finish.
“Her actions corrupted and disgraced one of the most important Departments of government,” Trump began.
“The Clintons made the State Department into the same kind of Pay-to-Play operation as the Arkansas Government was.”
“We’ve already released, I don’t know, 30,000 plus,” Hillary Clinton told Jimmy Kimmel Monday, “so what’s a few more?”
To answer that question: quite a lot. Clinton’s defense of her own behavior in the never-ending story of her own email server has been built on a few pillars that have shown cracks: that the practice was permitted and had precedent, that she never sent or received classified material, that she released all of her work-related emails. Colin Powell and James Comey have weakened the first two defenses. Now Clinton herself is seemingly acknowledging that there are more emails that weren’t released. That’s actually now already established. The emails disclosed by Judicial Watch include another 20 involving the secretary of state that weren’t part of the official State Department release, according to the conservative group. Maybe the rest, as Clinton told Kimmel, are so boring as to be embarrassing. But the real embarrassment could be even more disclosures, all the way through October, of work-related emails that Clinton and her team said did not exist.
Chris Cillizza also points out why this isn’t just another “boring” interlude:
In other words, every new revelation reinforces the fact that Hillary has lied all along about the e-mails. Now, with the Clinton Foundation under a spotlight (finally), that track record of dishonesty may well be extended by a significant amount. Small wonder that the usual attack dogs are trying to conflate a desire to compel transparence with some sort of animus against charity and the oppressed. The desperation of those attempts suggest that there’s more there than just smoke.
But Trump has to know that no special prosecutor will be appointed. If that was to happen, it would have taken place last year when the e-mail server was first exposed, or in July when James Comey took a pass on recommending prosecution. The only way that the DoJ or a special prosecutor does any serious investigation into pay-for-play at Hillary’s State Department is if someone other than a Clinton wins the White House. Perhaps Trump should make that more plain over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, do note what improved focus can do. Former Clintonista George Stephanopoulos covered this without any distractions about Trump’s personal vendettas in regard to media figures. If Trump stays disciplined, he can force the media to cover these allegations seriously.