WILKES-BARRE, Penn. — Donald Trump on Monday night abandoned the afternoon’s continued personal attacks on Bill Clinton’s past allegations of sexual assault and instead took up the mantle of jailing his opponent, Hillary.
“Lock her up is right,” he responded to a chant from the crowd as he reiterated a demand for a special prosecutor to look into her private server and missing emails. In the past, Trump reacted to the cheered plea from his fans to jail his opponent with a counter-offer to “just beat her in November, okay?"
One night earlier, during the second presidential debate, Trump controversially promised that if he won in November he would direct his attorney general to investigate and jail Hillary Clinton, who was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI and then DOJ over the summer.
But Trump doesn’t have the law on his side with this proposition. As NBC News' Ari Melber points out, presidents do not have a general authority to order specific criminal investigations, nor can they try to reopen a closed investigation. Further, when articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon were filed, one of the articles was in regard to his interference with the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Trump’s 2005 hot mic comments about sexual assault seemed far from his mind at his second stop of the day. The avalanche of criticism from fellow Republicans was still fresh — and Trump was still lashing out at his detractors. For the second time on Monday Trump didn’t name the House Speaker or other prominent GOPers who rebuked him, but instead referenced “people that fix a budget, but then they start talking about their nominee. But they can’t fix the budget," he said. "Isn’t it really sad that we don’t have stronger leadership, on both sides?”
Again, while bringing Pennsylvania Reps. Lou Barletta and Tom Marino on stage, Trump asked the crowd “Who likes congressmen?” The crowd booed. Trump seemed to agree, but delineated his congressmen from the rest. “I like these two.”
Though Trump’s ire was fresh for his fellow Republicans that condemned and even unendorsed him after the leaked 2005 audio was released Friday, he also focused on an old foe: the press.
The packed arena broke out into chants of “CNN sucks” on four occasions, with Trump smiling and calling the network a “disgrace” as they yelled. One woman, there with a friend, laughed as she filmed the scene on her cell phone and said “this is great!”
Trump repeatedly accused media organizations of being all Clinton has going for her campaign, and of being too dishonest to show the crowds. Trump despaired to tell the crowd that the network pool camera — its job to film Trump head-on at his rallies — stays “pinned to my face.”
That ended up being a good thing, as Trump brought another surprise guest on stage: a baby dressed as the reality star. “He’s actually much too good looking. You are really handsome,” Trump cooed at the boy. Earning cheers from the crowd and elating Trump, the child told the nominee that given the choice between going back to his parents and staying on stage with Trump, he would choose “Trump.”