Schuette: ‘Lock her up’ chants just campaign drama

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing – Everyone deserves due process, even Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Friday.

“Lock her up” chants have become ubiquitous at rallies for Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has said Clinton should “be in prison” for her use of a private email server as secretary of state even though she has not faced any criminal charges. The campaign has contended that classified national security information was put at risk.

The familiar chant erupted early Friday morning in Lansing ahead of a campaign rally headlined by Trump running mate Mike Pence, who has visited Michigan twice in as many days and is scheduled to campaign here again Saturday morning in Holland.

“I think people get excited,” Schuette told reporters after delivering a warm-up speech before Pence arrived. “It’s campaign drama: the theater, the grease paint, the enthusiasm and all of that.

“We have a system of justice, and that’s what will be followed, and I understand that as a lawyer, as a judge and as attorney general. Everybody does. This is America.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told members of Congress last week the agency is reviewing new emails it believes may be pertinent to its probe of the Clinton email server.

Comey said in July that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a criminal case against Clinton over the email server but suggested she and her staff were “extremely careless” with classified materials. The FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this (new) material may be significant,” Comey said last week.

Clinton has repeatedly acknowledged that her use of a private email server was “a mistake” but said this week she is confident the FBI will reach the same conclusion it did when it reviewed other emails.

“There is no case here,” Clinton said Monday in Ohio.

Renewed interest in the FBI probe has energized the Trump campaign and boosted Republican hopes of a strong performance in states like Michigan, which has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate each year since 1992.

“People are desperate for change,” Schuette said. “They don’t trust Hillary. You have a presidential candidate that’s under investigation by the FBI. That gives people pause for thought, and that’s part of this surge that’s occurring.”

Schuette has criticized some of Trump’s more controversial comments, including his lewd descriptions of women in 2005, but he has stood by the GOP nominee. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has sat out the presidential race while Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley last month withdrew his Trump endorsement.

Trump is no stranger to legal drama. The New York businessman is the target of at least 75 open lawsuits, according to a recent report, many related to his private business dealings.

But speaking Monday in Michigan, Trump suggested the country could face a “constitutional crisis” if Clinton is elected president amid an ongoing FBI probe.

At least one supporter attended Trump’s Halloween-day rally in Walker dressed up as Clinton in prison garb.

Pence struck a more subtle tone Friday in Lansing.

“We commend the FBI for re-opening the case and following the facts,” said the GOP vice presidential nominee. “What makes America special is that no one is above the law.”

joosting@detroitnews.com