By Rene Sotolongo:
Is he or isn’t he? That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind. Is Trump going to live up to his campaign promise and prosecute Hillary Clinton or isn’t he? You should “read between the lines” to get to the truth.
As you all know, on November 22, 2016, Trump publicly declared that he won’t prosecute Hillary. This, despite saying on several occasions during his campaign for the presidency that he would.
In an interview with Sean Hannity, here is what he said:
[This is] so unfair to the people that have been prosecuted over the years for doing much less than she [Clinton] did. So she’s being protected, but if I win, it is certainly something I will look into.
Then at the second presidential debate in October, Trump took an even stronger stance:
“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception,” he vowed.
But then just a few short days ago he seems to have backpedaled and reversed course.
Here is what was first reported by MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:
“Source tells Joe Scarborough that Donald Trump won’t pursue an investigation into Hillary Clinton for private email server use or the Clinton Foundation.”
This was later, according to the mainstream media, confirmed by Trump campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway about an hour later on the same show saying, “… if the President Elect is telling you this before he even takes office..” so take that for what it’s worth.
So what is really going on here? Is he or isn’t he?
First of all, you have to understand this: while Trump may be bombastic and truculent, he is also nothing short of genius. He is a master strategist and a guy that gets things done…period. Consider this.
The 1986 Wolman Skating Ring Fiasco.
More than anything, what made Trump who he is today, was the drama surrounding the refurbishing of Wollman Rink, the ice skating plaza located in the Southeast area of Central Park.
By this point, the Wolman Skating Rink was an emblem of political dysfunction. Formerly a jewel in the crown of Central Park the Wollman Rink had fallen into serious disrepair.
Shuttered for repairs in 1980 by the Koch administration and set to be restored at the cost of $4.7 million, by 1985, the rink was $12 million over budget and still not ready. And worse, the politicians had no idea how to fix it.
And up until this point, Trump was a minor player in the New York real estate scene with only one building to his name. But in late May of 1986, the 39-year-old Trump made a very public offer to Mayor Ed Koch.
Trump stated publicly that he would step in and take over the construction and operation of the project and he would do it for no profit. He also promised to have it done and ready for public use in less than six months – just in time for the holiday season. Mind you, the politicians, up to this point, had wasted almost six years and over $16 million dollars. Now this no name young upstart by the name of Donald Trump was promising to do in six months what the politicians had not been able to do in six years.
So Mayor Koch tried his very best to reject Trump’s very public offer.
As a result, a very public Trump-Koch feud ensued; Donald ultimately prevailed taking on the responsibility to finish the rink in less than six months for no more than $3 million.
The city administration could only hope that Donald would fail so it would divert attention from their own very obvious and very public incompetence.
Instead of failing, Trump finished the job in just four months at a final cost 25% below the budget. And he played the media and the politicians like a maestro.
During construction, any milestone of the project’s development resulted in press conferences often with ceremony, pomp and circumstance, and frequently big name celebrities.
In fact, city officials stopped attending the press conferences because it was actually becoming an embarrassment.
When the concrete was laid: press conference. Construction complete: press conference. The first ice: press conference. The Grand Opening: press conference. And the grand opening included big name celebrities (at the time) like Dick Button, Peggy Fleming, and Scott Hamilton just to name a few. Everything became an event. And for Trump – free publicity.
The rink that had been a perpetual money loser started making money almost immediately. Oh, and the money? Trump donated it to charity. Just like he originally promised.
So here is a guy that did in six months (and under budget) what the politicians couldn’t do in six years. He did EXACTLY what he said he was going to do. And he declared it publicly.
Which now brings us back to the Hillary prosecution question.
Trump does not mince words. He is blunt, direct, and very deliberate in what he says and when he chooses to say it, despite appearances to the contrary. He also does what he says he is going to do. So when it comes to the Donald, you have to listen very carefully to what he says, but more importantly to what he doesn’t say.
According to several media outlets, with the New York Post being one of them, Donald Trump allegedly stated that “he won’t pursue charges against Clinton.” Notice the use of the word “he.” Trump could just as easily have said “my administration.” Instead, he referred to himself. Trump said nothing about the Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also never stated or declared that Hillary was innocent.
It only makes sense. Of course Trump won’t pursue prosecution. It’s not the President’s job (or the President-elect’s). Pursuing charges is at the sole discretion of the Department of Justice, despite what we have seen and heard from Obama and his administration.
Nothing Trump has said would even come close to stopping Jeff Sessions from investigating and prosecuting Hillary Clinton. Assuming, of course, that Congress confirms Sessions to the position of Attorney General.
But there is a lot more going on here, and you have to look at the “big picture” to realize what Trump is doing. It literally is a masterstroke of strategic genius.
If Trump was to come out and publically re-declare his intent to prosecute Clinton, he opens up a whole assortment of problems and a door for the liberal media to attack him. They could call him petty, a misogynist, sore loser, or worse.
But more importantly, a public declaration by Trump to prosecute Clinton opens the door for Obama to issue a pardon to Clinton.
But by publically declaring that he (personally) has no intention of prosecuting Clinton, he puts a stranglehold on the media and paints Obama into a corner in one deft stroke.
He shows sympathy and compassion for a defeated foe so he kills any story the media may try to conjure up. Second, Obama is now in a no-win situation. Why issue a pardon for Clinton since, according to the media, the Clintons, and the Obama administration, she has done nothing wrong? Couple that with the fact that Trump won’t prosecute and it’s a knockdown blow. Obama’s hands are tied.
Once Obama is out of office, all of Clinton’s remaining political protection is gone, and she’s left out in the cold. The newly “liberated” Department of Justice and FBI can now pursue their investigation (free of interference) to its only logical conclusion – incarceration for Clinton.
You’ve just got to admire Trump.
Rene C. Sotolongo is an OpsLens Contributor and a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer who served for over twenty years as an Information Systems official. Sotolongo also specialized in homeland security and counterterrorism.