The United States appears to have elected Republican Donald Trump as its next president, but there are still people trying to punish Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, who was trailing Trump early Wednesday in electoral votes, has been under fire for months for choosing to use a private email server instead of a government account while she was secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. Although the FBI declined to pursue charges — twice — critics have continued to question whether she put highly important information about national security at risk.
Among them is Trump himself, who predicted "an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis" if Clinton were elected. Trump fans began chanting "lock her up" at campaign rallies, and at an October debate, the GOP candidate told her that "if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation."
Now that Trump's victory looks likely, these calls are almost certain to resurface. But could she actually go to jail for her emails?
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat, has expressed doubt that Trump could find an attorney general to do his bidding. Holder referenced a 1973 incident in which former President Richard Nixon saw two cabinet officials leave his administration in protest after he requested they fire the special prosecutor tasked with overseeing the Watergate investigation, CNN reported.
However, at least one of Trump's prospective attorneys general seems to be on board with charging Clinton. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has said FBI Director James Comey made the wrong call in deciding not to indict her. "She should be convicted, absolutely," Christie said in July, according to Politico.
Experts have remained dubious.
Henry Chambers, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told the Guardian the concept of jailing the former first lady was far-fetched. "He could start the ball rolling by suggesting to the Department of Justice that it start an investigation, but even then it’s kind of nuts," Chambers added. "The idea that he could decide on his own, ‘I will put Hillary Clinton in jail,’ is bizarre squared."
Even the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner admitted the case was thin. "Government taxpayer-funded special prosecutors also are not usually used to launch investigations against former public officials — no matter how egregious the accusations against them are," reporter Susan Crabtree wrote last month. "Attorney generals are supposed to exercise independence free of presidential influence and political meddling."