Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

On Saturday, July 2, 2016, Hillary Clinton walked into FBI headquarters and submitted to a three and a half hour interview about her handling of emails and classified information while she was serving as Secretary of State. At the time, Donald Trump was hardly in a mood to give her credit for voluntarily cooperating.

The mention of Bill Clinton was a reference to his decision to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the runway of an Arizona airport. For Trump, this was evidence of collusion and a rigged game.

It was never likely that Hillary Clinton would be indicted, but she was willing to take the risk of an interview with the FBI without being forced to do it by a subpoena or court order. If she had lied or the investigators were not satisfied with her candor, she could have faced criminal charges.

I have no idea when or how the Office of Special Counsel will share their findings, but one thing I do know is that Donald Trump refused to meet with its investigators or to submit to an interview. He had his lawyers carefully craft answers to written questions, but he followed their advice not to show up in person and expose himself to additional criminal liability.

I don’t think Robert Mueller should have let this happen without a fight. I believe he should have taken the president to court in an effort to compel his cooperation. I could change my mind once I see how everything plays out, but I remember when Bill Clinton was compelled to testify about extramarital activities in a frivolous civil suit. When he lied, the perjury charges were piggy-backed onto the investigation of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr who was supposed to be looking into the Whitewater real estate deal in Arkansas. I thought the Supreme Court was wrong when they unanimously decided that Clinton would have to testify, but that’s now the legal precedent and it should have applied with double or triple force to an investigation about the integrity of a presidential election and a president who is likely compromised by a foreign power.

Maybe lawyers will tell me that Mueller might not have prevailed or that it would have caused too much delay, and I ultimately am not that exercised about this issue. I just want people to remember that Hillary Clinton cooperated voluntarily and Donald Trump did not. She could have gone to court, but she didn’t. Trump, through his lawyers, promised to go to court and then did not have to actually do it.

Also, please note that Hillary Clinton hasn’t been tweeting that it will be “impossible” the for investigation not to recommend criminal charges against Trump or anyone else. She isn’t saying the system is rigged. Unlike Trump, she’s acting like a president should.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at