Holder hits Trump for threatening to jail Clinton
Former Attorney General Eric Holder lashed out at Donald Trump Sunday, slamming him as "dangerous" for calling for a White House-directed special prosecutor over Hillary Clinton's emails and for threatening to jail Clinton if he is elected.
"So @realDonaldTrump will ORDER his AG to take certain actions-When Nixon tried that his AG courageously resigned. Trump is dangerous/unfit," Holder wrote in one of three tweets slamming Trump over the issue.
Holder was reacting to Trump's statement that he would order his attorney general to name a special prosecutor to go after Clinton's use of a private email server found to have contained highly classified information.
"I didn't think I would say this, but I'm going to and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation," Trump said to Clinton in one heated exchanged. "Because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it. And we’re gonna have a special prosecutor."
Clinton didn't address the statement directly, but said Trump's personality was not a good fit for someone directing the criminal justice system.
"It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country," Clinton said.
"Because you would be in jail," Trump shot back.
That prompted two more post-debate tweets from Holder, warning about the dangers of presidential calls for prosecutors to target specific individuals.
"Be afraid of any candidate who says he will order DOJ/FBI to act on his command This is dangerous/so is@realDonaldTrump-he's not qualified," Holder wrote. "In the USA we do not threaten to jail political opponents.@realDonaldTrumpsaid he would. He is promising to abuse the power of the office."
Holder's Nixon comparison appeared to relate to Nixon's October 1973 effort to fire the special prosecutor probing Watergate, Archibald Cox. Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliott Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to get rid of Cox. Both Richardson and Ruckelshaus refused and resigned. Cox was fired by Solicitor General Robert Bork in a series of events that came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre.
Trump was calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton, something repeatedly proposed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and other GOP lawmakers. Justice Department officials have brushed aside the requests, although Attorney General Loretta Lynch ultimately recused herself from the case in a sense. After an uproar over a meeting she held with Bill Clinton just as the email probe was coming to a conclusion, Lynch said she would defer to whatever decision her subordinates and the FBI recommended in the case.
FBI Director James Comey announced in early July that he was recommending no charges over the email issue.
A federal law was used to name independent counsels on about 20 occasions in the 1980s and 1990s, but the last version of that statute expired in 1999.
However, the attorney general retains the authority to use a provision in federal regulations to name a special counsel. The Justice Department rules say it can be done in the event of "a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances."