When someone lies as prodigiously as Donald TrumpThe Washington Post stopped counting at more than 30,000, around the time he left officehanding out superlatives is challenging. Even so, the former president might have told his most audacious lie yet this weekend.

Trump sat for a conversation with Fox & Friends Weekend that aired yesterday. This isnt a venue where Trump would expect to get tough questions, and a co-host, Will Cain, made a relatively straightforward point. You famously said, regarding Hillary Clinton, Lock her up, he said. You declined to do that as president. The lock her up motif is troublesome for Trump because it undermines his new gambit that he should be immune from prosecution because hes a politician.

I beat her. Its easier when you win. They all said Lock her upand I could have done itbut I felt it would have been a terrible thing, and then this happened to me, Trump replied. Hillary Clinton, I didnt say Lock her up, but the people would all say Lock her up.

Thats nonsense, though the assertion was so bold that it gave me pause. I spend a lot of time watching and listening to Trump, but memories are fickle. I remembered attending Trump rallies where the crowd chanted Lock her up, and I remembered Trump doing little to quell them. Was it possible he had never explicitly said the words himself?

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But of course he did. Lock her up is right, he said in October 2016. For what she did, they should lock her up, he said at a rally I attended in Greensboro, North Carolina, a few days later. He used other phrasings at other times. In June 2016, for example, he said, Hillary Clinton has to go to jail. She has to go to jail, helpfully adding for the historical record: I said that. As he noted in the interview, he eased off the demands once hed won. But in 2020, running for reelection, he went back to playing the hits. You should lock her up, Ill tell you, he said at an Ohio rally.

His claim that he could have locked Clinton up is less brazen but perhaps more dangerous for its view of how the justice system works, or how Trump thinks it ought to work. Trump faces the possibility of jail only after he was indicted by a grand jury, tried in an open court, and convicted by a jury of 12 New Yorkers. Clinton, by contrast, was never charged, much less convicted by any court. A president cant legally, and shouldnt, be able to summarily imprison anyone without charge, including and perhaps especially a political opponent. These are the kinds of things that used to go without saying.

Speaking of things left unsaid, none of the Fox News hosts pushed Trump on the bogus claim. Regardless of whether Republicans or conservative media are willing to back his lie as he seeks a return to the White House as commander in chief, hes already the gaslighter in chief.