Sunday night’s highly-anticipated and extremely bizarre presidential debate began with a fiery opening exchange first orbiting, and then directly addressing, the shocking video released on Friday that showed Donald Trump blithely discussing sexual assault. Following a question about the tape and public conduct, Trump attempted to pivot to attacking Hillary Clinton for her email retention practices.
“We will have a special prosecutor,” Trump said. “I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this where e-mails — and you get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena you delete 33,000 e-mails and then you acid watch them or bleach them, a expensive process.”
James Comey, the Republican FBI Director who oversaw the investigation into Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State, said that “no reasonable prosecutor” could determine that charges were warranted.
Trump then got back to his main point. “So we’re gonna get a special prosecutor and we’re gonna look into it. Because you know what? People have been — their lives have been destroyed for doing 1/5 of what you have done. It’s a disgrace. And I will tell you honestly? You should be a shamed.”
Martha Raddatz interjected: “Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up with that, I will let you talk about emails.”
Clinton replied: “Everything he just said is absolutely false.”
Trump cut in, sotto voce: “Oh really?” The crowd reacted.
Clinton continued: “In the first debate, I told people that it would be impossible to be fact checking Donald all the time. I’d never get to talk about anything I want to do, and how we’re going to make lives better for people.” She touted her website where there is an ongoing fact-checking operation.
She finished by saying “it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.”
“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump retorted, walking away from his position close to Clinton during her answer, back closer to his chair. The crowd first reacted with cheers, then with boos.
This has not stopped Trump, his campaign, and the Republican party from egging on crowds to chant “lock her up” at Trump rallies and the opening night of the Republican National Convention.
Trump’s campaign evidently saw this exchange as a strong moment to highlight, and tweeted the “comeback” as a short video advertisement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016