Courtesy of Talking Points Memo, we learn that Mike Pence not only remains firmly wedded to “The Donald,” that he not only applauds Trump’s creepy performance in the second debate, but that he chose as one of Trump’s “finest moments” the declaration that has received shocked criticism from people on both sides of the aisle.
Mike Pence on Monday morning applauded Donald Trump’s comment during the Sunday night debate that if he is elected president, he will have a special prosecutor investigate Hillary Clinton and that she will “be in jail.”…
“I thought that was one of the better moments of the debate last night,” the Republican vice presidential nominee continued.
Donald Trump’s debate-night vow to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s email setup and put her “in jail” provoked a sharp blowback from former U.S. prosecutors, who said Trump’s view of the Justice Department serving the whims of the president is antithetical to the American system.
While presidents appoint the attorney general, they do not make decisions on whom to prosecute for crimes — and were Trump to do so, prosecutors warned, he would spark a constitutional crisis similar to that of the “Saturday Night Massacre” in the Nixon administration. In that case, Nixon attempted to fire the prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal, and the top two Justice Department officials resigned on the spot….former Republican appointees to senior Justice Department posts used words like “abhorrent,” “absurd” and “terrifying” to describe Trump’s threat to use the legal system to imprison Clinton.
And from the New York Times (which I’m pretty sure Pence never reads):
When Donald J. Trump told Hillary Clinton at Sunday’s presidential debate that if he were president, “you’d be in jail,” he was threatening more than just his opponent. He was suggesting that he would strip power from the institutions that normally enforce the law, investing it instead in himself.
Political scientists who study troubled democracies abroad say this is a tactic typical of elected leaders who pull down their systems from within: former President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the fascist leaders of 1930s Europe.
Those of us who live in Indiana have learned that, despite ostensibly having attended and graduated from law school, Governor Pence remains…let’s just say “unaquainted” with the U.S. Constitution. His efforts to substitute (his version of) biblical authority for legal and constitutional principles have repeatedly been struck down; the most recent lesson on constitutional governance was delivered by conservative jurist Richard Posner, delivering the Seventh Circuit’s unanimous opinion that the Governor could not exclude Syrian refugees from the state:
[The state’s] brief provides no evidence that Syrian terrorists are posing as refugees or that Syrian refugees have ever committed acts of terrorism in the United States. Indeed, as far as can be determined from public sources, no Syrian refugees have been arrested or prosecuted for terrorist acts or attempts in the United States.”
The policy “is discrimination on the basis of nationality,” Posner concluded in a section that compared Pence’s argument to the argument of a person claiming that it would not be racial discrimination to say that one ‘wants to forbid black people to settle in Indiana not because they’re black but because [the person]’s afraid of them.’”
As Politico noted,
Judge Posner’s opinion was joined by two conservative legal stalwarts, Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judge Diane Sykes — yes, the same Judge Sykes who’s on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist.
It would be nice to think that Pence might learn something from his repeated losses, but as we all know, he doesn’t believe in evolution, either. It shows.