Washington: Before our eyes, the candidate morphs to the defendant as his campaign outings acquire an air of what Law & Order aficionados would call a ‘perp walk’ – and maybe he should retain a good lawyer because, when it comes to the law, critics say he doesn’t have a clue.Think of it all as another peculiar twist by a peculiar candidate in a peculiar presidential campaign – Donald Trump bills himself as the law-and-order candidate, and pointing one of those famous fingers, he told his opponent Hillary Clinton that if elected, he’ll be putting her in the slammer.
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Trump pushes for Congress term limit Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump says he wants a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress.
Trump promises to make America safe again. But it becomes a hard sell as voters come to terms with a video in which he seemingly confesses to being a sexual predator; and an ever-expanding catalogue of his alleged sexual assaults and university rip-offs, his questionable charitable foundation and his serial stiffing of contractors which raise questions about the GOP candidate’s respect for the law.An even bigger question is Trump’s understanding of the law. His threat to jail Clinton earned swift rebukes from the left and right.
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It was a bridge too far even for Michael Mukasey, attorney-general in the George W Bush administration and a strident Clinton critic, who nonetheless warned that the US under a President Trump would be a “banana republic” – “[it’s] something we don’t do here,” he said.Former Obama administration attorney-general Eric Holder unleashed a Twitter storm, including this history-informed smack-down of Trump’s inability to grasp the independence of the AG’s office – “So [Donald Trump] will ORDER his AG to take certain actions – when Nixon tried that his AG courageously resigned. Trump dangerous/unfit.”
Early in the campaign, an unstoppable Trump seemed on a glide path to the White House, holding up in the polls as long as allegations against him fell into that more acceptable legal rubric of white-collar crime. But now he’s in free fall, in a polling hole, since his admission of sexual assault spurred the emergence of the Trump Nine, women from across the country who have nothing in common except for their remarkably similar stories of how Trump lunged at them.Trump has little regard for due process and the notion of innocence till guilt is proven – unless it’s about him. Remember his rallying calls – Mexicans are rapists and murderers, Muslims are suspect and the women who claimed he abused them as “horrible, horrible liars”. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday. Photo: AP Despite the charges stacking up, Trump insists he is innocent on all counts, a legal luxury he still slavishly denies to five young men of colour, dubbed the Central Park Five, who New York cops bludgeoned into confessing to a horrific late 1980s rape of which they were innocent – after as much as 13 years in jail, they were exonerated and received $US40 million in compensation when the true perpetrator was convicted and jailed for life.This was the infamous case of the Central Park jogger – a young white woman who was raped and brutally beaten in a park that was seen as a Manhattan sanctuary. It was at the height of a crack epidemic, crime rates were soaring and racial tension was electric. An armed police officer stands guard outside a pub in New York after a gunman attacked at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Photo: AP Amidst a huge public outcry, Trump paid $US85,000 for a full-page ad in four city newspapers. Under the heading “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” he demanded that the perpetrators, who had been arrested, be brought to justice and that the death penalty be reinstated. In a TV interview he suggested that “hate” might be a proper weapon against violent crime.The teens’ testimony had been coerced – they were denied food, water and sleep while being interrogated separately, with each being bullied into making a statement in which they admitted being at the scene but blamed the others for the crime. The US is safer today than at nearly any other time in modern history. Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project The actual rapist confessed in 2002. It was his semen and DNA that were identified on the victim and her clothing and at the scene – there was no DNA evidence to link the teenagers, who the cops had rounded up as “the usual suspects”.Furious that minority kids finally found justice, Trump denounced the compensation payment as “a disgrace”. And last week he still harped on, telling CNN: “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that the case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same”. Jamal Skinner, left, and Evan Aronowitz model ballistic body armour ahead of NYPD plans to distribute 20,000 helmets and 6,000 vests to patrol officers before the end of the year. Photo: NYPD/AP That a bunch of black and Hispanic kids happened to be in the park on the night of the attack was good enough for Trump. None of the five had an arrest record, but Trump claimed “they don’t exactly have the pasts of angels” and looking back in a subsequent tweet, he refused to accept that his argument had been well and truly debunked – claiming, well they weren’t there “playing checkers”.But Sarah Burns, a co-author of The Central Park Five, counters: “So we are left with Mr Trump’s presumption that because they were black and brown teenagers from Harlem, they must have committed a crime”.Clinton doesn’t get a free pass in this debate. She felt the need to apologise for a $US30 billion crime bill her husband and former president, Bill Clinton, signed in 1994, which critics say helped to decimate minority communities and accelerated mass incarceration; and in particular, for her use at the time of the word “super-predators” to describe a supposedly new kind of remorseless juvenile criminal that ultimately never emerged.CNN commentator Van Jones was apoplectic as he joined the dots in the crime debate: “[Trump] came on the scene politically in New York City, attacking five innocent black boys, acc…