Gregg Jarrett: Did Hillary Clinton just squander her "get out of jail free" card?

Hillary Clinton has never played the board game, “Monopoly”.

How do we know?  Because even novice players learn quickly that you always hang on to a “get out of jail free” card.  No matter what.  You never know when you’re going to need it.  And you usually do.

Clinton had such a card… and has managed to recklessly squander it.

So what happens now?  Will she draw that other dreaded card: “Go to jail.  Go directly to jail.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $ 200” ?  For Clinton, who could face serious criminal jeopardy, this is no game.

Post-Election Rapprochement    

The night Clinton lost the presidency, she telephoned Donald Trump to concede. We now know that it was President Obama who persuaded Clinton to make the gracious concession. 

Hillary Clinton’s decision to embrace a challenge to Trump’s election is both confounding and inexplicable. Why would she chance angering the very individual who holds her fate in his hands? It’s like an inmate taunting a jailer. You’d have to be obtuse to do it.

According to a soon-to-be published book by two Washington journalists, Obama told his former Secretary of State, “You need to concede.” At that point, it was clear the Democratic nominee was losing Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and had no hope of winning the White House. Clinton heeded the advice and made the call. Wise move.

The president-elect was clearly moved by what he described as a “lovely” conversation with Clinton. “It was a tough call for her.  She couldn’t have been nicer. She’s very strong and very smart”, Trump told CBS News' “60 Minutes”.  The newly-elected president suddenly seemed reluctant to have his Department of Justice pursue Clinton for criminal wrongdoing.

After spending months promising his supporters that he would see to it that Clinton is prosecuted over her email server and, perhaps, the Clinton Foundation, Trump reversed himself.

In a meeting with the New York Times last week, he all but ruled out recommending a special prosecutor or criminal charges.  “It’s just not something that I feel strongly about.  I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”

Clinton’s election night concession seemed to have prompted Trump to hand her a “get out of jail free” card.  If she was moving on, then he was moving on.  And so would the nation.

But in politics, what is given… can be taken away. Especially when the recipient of a generous gift exhibits a conspicuous lack of gratitude. Which is precisely what Clinton has now done.

A Game of Chance With No Chance

Clinton’s campaign announced over the weekend that it will join efforts to push for recounts in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in a futile effort to deprive Trump of the needed 270 electoral votes and, thus, the presidency.

It is the definition of a fool’s errand.  A game of chance with not a scintilla of chance to succeed.

Recounts almost never swing enough votes to change the outcome.  Clinton would have to do it in not one, but all three states.  In Pennsylvania alone, the law on a voter-initiated recount is next to impossible to meet. It demands notarized voter affidavits in each and every 9,163 election districts.  The deadlines are imminent and, in some districts, have already passed. Forget the fact that Trump’s lead in the state exceeds 70,000 votes.

Clinton’s decision to embrace a challenge to Trump’s election is both confounding and inexplicable. Why would she chance angering the very individual who holds her fate in his hands?  It’s like an inmate taunting a jailer. You’d have to be obtuse to do it. 

Already, Trump has responded with a series of furious tweets reminding Clinton that she already conceded. One of his top advisers hinted that retaliation works both ways. Trump might easily reconsider his decision to forego a case against his former adversary.

So why would Clinton deliberately antagonize someone who is notoriously mercurial? With a wave of his hand, Trump could signal his new attorney general to reignite a Justice Department criminal investigation of Clinton or, in the alternative, appoint a Special Prosecutor to consider charges.  After all, FBI Director James Comey laid out a meticulous case of how Clinton violated the Espionage Act, but then dismissed it by claiming that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”. 

Sorry, Mr. Comey, but there are plenty of reasonable prosecutors who would be eager to do so.

Stupid Is… As Stupid Does

As the great American philosopher, Forrest Gump, pointed out, an intelligent person who does stupid things is still stupid.  Common sense, or lack thereof, is evidenced by a person’s actions.

While Clinton may be a smart person, it makes no sense whatsoever for her to risk criminal indictment by alienating the one person who can best insulate her from the legal consequences of her own extremely careless, if not intentional, conduct. And for what? A recount that is destined to fail?

By contesting the presidential election, Clinton does damage only to herself.  When, during the election, Trump suggested he might not accept the result if he lost, Clinton called it “horrifying.” Did it ever occur to her that she is now committing the same “horrifying” act she so vehemently condemned?

Donald Trump made billions of dollars accumulating properties in a way the inventors of “Monopoly” envisioned.  He knows how the real game is played.

Hillary Clinton does not.  She held a treasured “get out of jail free” card… but wasted it for nothing.