Luke, you don't need to reword anything. When I said, "The question should be...." I was just being rhetorical, as a way of focusing on the purpose behind a given choice.
If the Clintons aren't prosecuted for crimes they've committed it sets a terrible precendent; we are much less a nation of laws; it gives a pass to corruption at the highest level; it reinforces the idea of elites having a different set of rules; and it spits in the face of justice.
If they are prosecuted, it keeps the country in a state of intense conflict; it prevents any degree of the nation coming together; and it would either be, or appear to be, emotional revenge and partisan behavior; and, as you said, it would set a precedent for an election winner putting their opponents in jail.
No good choices there. Which choice is less onerous?
The first choice, prosecuting them, is applying the law equally. The second choice is failing to apply the law equally. If a law isn't applied equally, then it is really is only being applied when those in power want to and that is very close to having no law - just the whims of the rulers. From that point of view, I think that applying the law is more important than the optics of putting opponents in jail, and the huge national political turmoil inherent in the second choice.
If government is no longer required to act according to law - in every instance - then we have implicitly adopted the idea that those in power get to do what they can get away with. It is a sanction of authoritarianism.
There is a cost no matter which is chosen. For me, prosecuting the Clintons is like taking a medicine that has some awful side-effects, but letting the disease run unchecked would, in time, be fatal.
Being a nation of laws should be an absolute. As private citizens, we often - maybe daily - make choices where there is no clear cut advantage or distinction. We can let those very close calls be decided by a whim, by convention, by habit, or flip a coin. But anyone engaged in government business should never take an action or make a decision that doesn't flow directly from answering which choice best represents the law as it applies there. if they really can't see a legal distinction between the available choice, they should refer it to the judiciary whose job is to interpret the law.