'Shame if anything happened to it': Legal experts blast Lindsey Graham for threatening political violence

'Shame if anything happened to it': Legal experts blast Lindsey Graham for threatening political violence
Image via Gage Skidmore.

A former federal prosecutor is leveling strong criticism against U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham after the South Carolina Republican appeared to threaten violence if the Dept. of Justice charges Donald Trump. The former president is believed to be under multiple criminal investigations, including for his alleged mishandling of the nation’s top defense intelligence. Last week multiple legal experts including former DOJ officials said it seemed clear Trump would be charged.

“I’ll say this. If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information, after the Clinton debacle,” Graham told Fox News Sunday night, “there’ll be riots in the streets.”

Some took that not as a prediction but as a promise – and a threat.

READ MORE: ‘Will Be Indicted’: Legal Experts Say Trump Should Expect to Get Target Letter After Release of ‘Pulverizing’ Affidavit

“Why would a US Senator say this?” asked Joyce Vance, a U.S. Attorney for eight years under President Barack Obama and now a Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law and a frequent MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst.

“It’s the classic threat of organized crime types against prosecutors. ‘Nice little ___ you’ve got there. Shame if anything happened to it,'” Vance noted. “Republicans, who’ve done nothing meaningful, like impeach Trump, after 1-6, now openly condone violence?”

“Is threatening violence if things don’t go their way the new normal for the GOP?” Vance continues. “Would it work for BLM or groups protesting anti-abortion prosecutions too? Can the GOP also do this if they don’t like future election outcomes? These are no longer just theoretical questions.”

READ MORE: ‘None of Trump’s Usual Excuses Are Going to Work’: Legal Experts Agree Former President Likely to Be Indicted

Yale Professor of History Dr. Joanne Freeman appears to agree with Vance.

“And…..that’s a threat,” she writes. “That’s basically saying: if you do this thing that we don’t like, you’ll be VERY sorry. In this case, it means: if you end up prosecuting” Trump, “you’ll pay for it.”

“That’s not democratic governance. And it’s certainly not the rule of law.”

Former Obama Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer also weighed in, stating: “Give us what we want or our people will be violent is now the standard GOP response to everything — criminal prosecutions, passing gun laws, losing elections.”

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