Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Collusion (Simon & Schuster) and Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Professor. Lawyer. Nov. 04, 2019 2 min read

I normally feel uncomfortable with chants like this—but Trump's an unindicted SDNY co-conspirator who's also an clear flight risk. Anyone chanting "lock him up" could easily just be calling for his arrest and pretrial detention under standard court procedure and full due process.

1/ In contrast, the chants calling to "lock up" Clinton—who at the time had been fully investigated pursuant to a series of allegations, and who upon the completion of those investigations was ruled *non-chargeable*—were calling for lawless behavior and the demise of due process.

2/ Note: I still would not participate in such a chant, and I could wish that these chants would not happen at Democratic rallies. But what I'm pointing out as an attorney is that there's a *difference* between chanting in favor of due process and chanting for it to be abrogated.

3/ That is to say, if you take the same position on a chant like this as to both Clinton and Trump what you're actually doing is incorrectly assessing their relative legal position and the proper operation of due process in each case, and I find that dangerous/troubling as well.

4/ Look at it from the standpoint of a Democratic candidate: if you believe in the rule of law, you believe Trump should be indicted, arrested in New York City, and face pretrial detention (under standard due process) because all the evidence we have suggests he is a flight risk.

5/ That is, should a Democratic candidate confronted with "lock him up" chants falsely tell the gathered crowd that under no circumstances should they want an unindicted co-conspirator who is a flight risk to be indicted, arrested, and jailed pretrial consistent with rule of law?

6/ It's not like you can encourage people to chant "investigate," instead. The investigation *already happened*, and the top federal investigators and prosecutors in the U.S. determined Trump was an unindicted co-conspirator subject to indictment, arrest, and pre-trial detention.

7/ I do think one of the problems we're having in this country is a mindless both-sides-ism that deactivates our ability to think critically about the relative legal position and due process-enabled susceptibility to indictment, arrest, and pre-trial detention of two individuals.

8/ Like I said, I still don't like the chant and wouldn't participate in it—as it has a flavor of mob action even if the content is procedurally sound. But I also wouldn't endorse media analysts falsely and blithely equating this chant to a similar chant directed at Clinton. /end


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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