Bill O’Reilly got into an epic argument with Charles Krauthammer Monday night over Donald Trump’s debate threat to jail Hillary Clinton. O’Reilly tried to dismiss it as a political favor or stunt to Trump’s base. But Krauthammer magnificently smacked down that argument and pointed out every facet of the hideousness of Trump’s threat.
In a discussion about Sunday night’s second presidential debate, Krauthammer called Trump’s threat to jail Clinton over her emails “his low point.”
Transcript excerpts via Media Matters (with my emphases):
KRAUTHAMMER: His low point was something that you seemed to brush off as something that would only concern the left. When you look at your opponent, and you threaten to put your opponent in jail, you have gone way over the line of political decency in this country. That’s not Hitler, Stalin. That’s banana republic.
We have had 250 years of miraculous transfer of power, with—done peacefully and consensually. The one thing we don’t do is to put people in jail or to execute them. In other countries, your life can be on the line in elections, and we had a long history where you don’t even talk about that.
The breach of that etiquette, of talking about “I’m going to personally order a special prosecutor,”—incidentally, the law wouldn’t even allow that, but nonetheless, and then you would end up in jail, as if he’s pre-judging it, is something that should never be done and is another example of Trump lowering the level of our discourse.
O’REILLY: Alright, I disagree, because, number one, he has to play to a certain voter, alright? Who does believe that Mrs. Clinton got away with a national security violation that no one else would have gotten away with. Millions and millions of those voters out there. So, yeah, you’re right, he can’t put anybody in jail if he’s president. You can’t just sign executive orders and one is incarcerated, but certainly he would have the power to—his Justice Department would, to reopen an investigation that the government deemed to be not credible. He does have the power to do that, and I wasn’t offended by that so much in the sense that I knew it was a quip off the top of his head which, you know—and I think it helped him. I really believe that it helped him.
KRAUTHAMMER: But you always defend Trump, saying, “He said x, oh it perhaps was not the right thing to do, maybe it was constitutional […] But he was appealing, and it works for him.” Works for him is different from saying it’s the right thing to do.
O’REILLY: We want civility, and we on this program, as you well know, have stayed out of the swamp. But you can’t tell me that you thought that Donald Trump was saying, “If I’m elected, I’m going to incarcerate this woman like I would do in an inquisition.”
He was making a point that there would be a special prosecutor, the email thing would be reopened because, again, many, many millions of Americans feel that this was—the fix was in. That another president, Barack Obama, made sure that it wasn’t—an honest investigation did not take place. So, I hope we have a tradition in this country of honest investigations, and that’s how I took it.
But there was an investigation and whether or not O’Reilly liked it or the outcome, in this country we don’t keep investigating and prosecuting people until you get the result that satisfies the person in power. Hillary Clinton is not a Mafia don or a serial murderer.
Also, O’Reilly’s concern for “honest investigations” is not so honest. Take, for example, Dick Cheney. He was convicted in Malaysia of war crimes in 2012. Esquire reported on the trial:
The court heard how Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers; Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from a wall; Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary confinement, Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter. The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till today.
That’s not counting the 500,000 needless deaths caused by a war started on false pretenses.
But when O’Reilly interviewed Cheney in October, 2013, after he had already been convicted, and O’Reilly repeatedly pressed Cheney to explain, “What did we get out of Iraq for all that blood and treasure?” O’Reilly also repeatedly assured Cheney none of the deaths or torture would be held against him because “as Americans, we’re all in it together.”
O’REILLY: I mean, as Americans, we’re all in it together. We’re all in it together. It’s easy to finger point… I don’t want to do that.
[…] I don’t blame you – you, Vice President Cheney or President Bush for doing what you did. I’m not Monday morning quarterbacking.
So, out of love for his country, O’Reilly doesn’t want to “finger point” or “Monday morning quarterback” about 500,000 needless deaths and torture (not to mention the money spent on the war) but O’Reilly wants a redo of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails because he didn’t think the FBI investigation was honest.
Krauthammer is right about Trump having gone “way over the line of political decency.” But it’s not just Trump.
Watch O’Reilly’s indecency below, from the October 10, 2016 The O’Reilly Factor. Underneath, for comparison is his October 28, 2013 interview with convicted war criminal Cheney.
The best thing that happened to Hillary was that Trump regained support from his base to stay on the ticket. It guarantees her victory and helps the Democrats chances of regaining the Senate, and while there’s talk that the D’s can regain control of the House, that seems unlikely thanks to gerrymandering.
Don’t be fooled, a Hillary victory will be a ratings bonanza for Fox News and right wing talk radio. It’ll provide them with non-stop hate to feed the viewers and listeners. They love to hate.
As long as Paul Ryan remains Speaker I don’t see him wasting time and money on needless investigations to bring down Clinton, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Ryan steps down from being the Speaker after the election.
I can’t figure out what’s up with Trump and that sniffing he has done during the two debates. I don’t recall hearing it before on his many interviews or rallies. At his rally yesterday I didn’t hear one snort. Why is this only an issue during the two debates?
That said, Trump is exploiting debunked right-wing conspiracy theories because this has been thoroughly investigated by a Republican Congress and the FBI. This includes giving immunity to the players the Fox News crowd were certain would spill the beans on Hillary and send her to jail, do not pass “Go”. Nope. Didn’t happen.
The problem, in any case, is proving intent. That was Patraeus’ problem. He intentionally turned over volumes of classified material to his mistress. There is no intent with Hillary. And forget the “lock her up” Trumpet bulls—t because Patraeus didn’t spend a day in jail for his cut and dry mishandling of classified material.
Like Charles, I found Trump’s threat to investigate Hillary one more time chilling. Because certainly a hand-picked attorney general like ass-kissing sycophants Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani would enjoy making HIllary’s life a living Hell and would put forward a case to trial even if it was a loser – which it undoubtedly would be.
O’Reilly has shared a straw with Der Furor too many times sipping milkshakes with his BFF to be objective. Trump and Clinton can’t hide their contempt for each other. The difference between them is narcissist The Donald heaps revenge on anyone who slights him. If his offensive Twitter rages aren’t enough of abuse, now we have the specter of Hair Hitler using the power of his office to destroy the lives of his political enemies.
Imagine a thin-skinned President Trump with a long, long list of political and media enemies. Now imagine some foaming crazy like Rudy running Homeland Security and using the power of the FBI to destroy them. Look at how Trump’s hero Putin has hushed his media doing the same.
Just read an article on Crooks and Liars about the possibility (fairly strong evidence?) that the most recently Clinton texts released by Wikileaks were “doctored” (aka edited) by a foreign government.