The second presidential debate was certainly one for the record books, and it has spawned some incredibly divisive conversations between those who are still, somehow, supporting Donald Trump and those who have realized the true danger of the man. Perhaps the most iconic phrase from the debate, at least if you were to believe the news pundits, occurred when Trump promised that Hillary Clinton would be in jail if he were President of the United States. While this was certainly one of the most memorable moments of the debate, it was not so because of the reason most Republican supporters of Trump give. They seem to think that Trump’s threats are exactly what the candidate should have said, and that he was perfectly within acceptable behavior.
However, the scene was much more iconic for a reason that only those who have realized the true nature of Trump can see. It was best described by the former US Attorney General, Eric Holder. Holder was the first black man to hold the office of Attorney General, and despite having a Twitter account, he has only tweeted a little over 100 times in his entire time on the social media site. In the wake of the debate, Holder tweeted three times in a series that perfectly summed up Trump’s statements.
Holder started off by saying that the American people should be wary of any candidate who threatens to direct the Department of Justice or the FBI in any way, and that Trump is dangerous simply for his promise to do so. For those who don’t know how the DOJ and the FBI operate, they are not under the ownership of the President. The President merely appoints the position, Congress confirms the appointment, and the appointee swears an oath that places them officially in the office. The very separation between the DOJ and the Presidency is what makes America a nation of laws. The Attorney General has always operated independently, so for Trump to threaten to take control over the agencies in order to satisfy his own agenda is essentially dictator behavior.
Holder continued in his second tweet with what should be an easily accepted statement. He says that politicians in America do not threaten political opponents with jail time, but Trump had no problem doing just that in front of millions of people. His behavior shows that is literally promising to abuse the power of the Presidency should he be elected. Such statements soundly disqualify Trump from the highest office in the United States.
While Holder might be an upstanding individual and a fine Attorney General, the potential AG under Trump could be Chris Christie, the head of the transition team for Trump. It is generally accepted that Christie will be the leading choice for AG under Trump, which would only allow Trump that much more direct power.
Holder points out that in his last tweet that Nixon attempted to have his AG perform certain actions, and instead of bowing to the whim of the crook, his AG, Eliot Richardson, resigned. Would Christie make the same sacrifice if Trump unlawfully demanded he do something as AG? The answer is a resounding no, which makes Trump and his campaign that much more dangerous.
The resignation of Richardson and his deputy AG under Nixon is famously referred to as The Saturday Night Massacre. That was the last time a President tried to compel the Attorney General to do something against his wishes. The Bush administration attempted something along the same lines, but without any direct orders. Instead, they attempted to use the health status of AG John Ashcroft as a tool for getting what they wanted from him. Thankfully, that effort also failed.