And another norm of American politics has been shattered.
During Sunday night’s presidential debate, Donald Trump went on a fairly standard-issue rant about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal—then added a horrifying twist, suggesting he will try to prosecute her over it if he’s elected president.
Trump: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. There has never been so many lies, so much exception.There has never been anything like it. We will have a special prosecutor. I go out and speak and the people of this country are furious. The long time workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this with emails. You get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena you delete 33,000 emails and acid wash them or bleach them. An expensive process. We will get a special prosecutor and look into it. You know what, people have been—their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you have done. You should be ashamed.
Moderator: Secretary Clinton, I will let you respond.
Clinton: Everything he said is absolutely false. It would be impossible to be fact checking Donald all the time. I would never get to talk and make lives better for people. Once again, go to Hillaryclinton.com. You can fact check Trump in realtime. Last time at the first debate we had millions of people fact checking and we will have millions more fact checking. It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.
Trump: Because you would be in jail.
The tl;dr version: If I am president, I will appoint a special prosecutor and if I were in charge of the law you’d be in jail. Without belaboring the point, prosecuting your former political opponent is the sort of action Americans typically associate with dictators, like Vladimir Putin.