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The 'lock her up!' chant has not aged well, but Trump's supporters are still using it

Hours after his former lawyer and fixer pleaded guilty in a New York court room to campaign finance and tax ...

Posted: Aug 22, 2018 1:46 PM
Updated: Aug 22, 2018 1:46 PM

Hours after his former lawyer and fixer pleaded guilty in a New York court room to campaign finance and tax fraud violations and his former campaign chairman was convicted on eight of 18 counts of tax fraud and other crimes in a Virginia court room, the crowd at President Donald Trump's West Virginia rally Tuesday night was still chanting about putting Hillary Clinton behind bars.

The "lock her up" chant, although not pegged to a particular alleged crime, remained a favorite of Trump rally participants throughout the 2016 campaign. But it has not aged well given the legal troubles of so many Trump campaign associates.

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That hasn't stopped the President's supporters from employing it, as they did last night, while the guilty plea of Michael Cohen and the guilty verdict of Paul Manafort went mostly unmentioned by Trump.

There's further irony in the fact that Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and troubleshooter, used to tweet regularly about what Hillary Clinton's life would be like when she was behind bars.

In December of 2015 Cohen tweeted at Clinton: "@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!"

The tweet was deleted after his guilty plea.

Stalwart Clinton supporter Philippe Reines was among those to seize on the resurgence of Cohen's old tweet with a suggestive response Tuesday.

That snarkiness from Reines can perhaps be understood.

Just before Election Day, Cohen tweeted a doctored picture of Clinton behind bars along with #LockHerUp and imaginary word bubbles with Hillary Clinton asking Bill Clinton if he'd been able to get her a pardon from Trump.

Now it's Cohen, who recorded his conversation with Trump about a coordinated payoff to a Playboy model alleging an affair with the future President years before, who will be hoping for a pardon from his former boss. Given that Cohen admitted to taking direction from Trump for illegal campaign contributions and payoffs to a porn star and Playboy Playmate alleging affairs, any pardon for him at this point would be quite a surprise.

Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Adviser, is more closely associated with the "lock her up" chant than Cohen. Flynn used to warm up crowds for the future President in 2016 by leading them in chants of "lock her up!" He did it at the Republican National Convention.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to investigators. He's still cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's team and both sides asked for more time for that cooperation to continue Tuesday. His punishment could very well include time in jail.

Trump still complains, by the way, that his own Justice Department isn't doing more to investigate Clinton.

The person leading that Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is not above repeating the chants himself, which he did as recently as last month.

Is this all irony or serendipity or poetic justice? It's something.

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