[guest post by Dana]
During the presidential campaign, the refrain of “lock her up, lock her up” become part of Trump’s go-to rhetoric used to rally supporters. Now, in spite of that, and in spite of promising that if he won the election, he would “instruct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s situation,” it was announced this morning that President-elect Trump will not be pursuing any prosecution of Hillary Clinton. Instead, it appears he would like to be a part of the healing process …
Senior spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway explained the decision:
“I think when the President-elect, who’s also the head of your party, tells you before he’s even inaugurated that he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone, and content” to fellow Republicans, Conway said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Conway said Clinton “still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy,” but added that “if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing to do.”
“Look, I think he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the President of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign are not among them,” she added.
As a reminder, here are a few times he used the issue to rally the base:
“Remember I said I was a counter-puncher? I am,” Trump said at a San Jose rally in June, referencing an anti-Trump speech Clinton gave. “After what she said about me today, her phony speech, that was a phony speech. It was a Donald trump hit job, I will say this: Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, ok? (Cheers) She has to go to jail, phony hit job. She’s guilty as hell.”
“She gets a subpoena, she deleted the emails, she has to go to jail,” Trump said at a Lakeland, Florida, rally
According to this report, Trump’s decision involved a desire to protect the Clintons:
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”
With that, some are voicing disappointment at his decision. From Breitbart, the headline reads, “Broken Promise: Trump ‘Doesn’t Wish to Pursue’ Clinton Email Charges.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, released a statement:
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog agency that sued to get more of Clinton’s State Department emails released, urged Trump on Tuesday to “commit his administration” to investigating Clinton, while promising to continue its own litigation and investigations to help uncover possible scandals.
For Trump to refuse to do so “would be a betrayal of his promise to the American people to ‘drain the swamp’ of out-of-control corruption in Washington, DC,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton warned in a statement. “President-elect Trump should focus on healing the broken justice system, affirm the rule of law and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton scandals.”
But, it appears that Trump remains optimistic about his supporters:
And some will indeed cut him slack and claim that this now allows him to look ahead and focus on more important matters.
Questions: At any point, did Trump expect President Obama to preemptively pardon Clinton on his way out the door, in spite of what Obama has said about not doing last-minute pardons? In light of today’s decision, what would happen if Congress decides to make a referral to seek prosecution? How vulnerable would elected Republicans become if he did seek to pursue a prosecution, and what might the fallout look like?
And there is this:
For Hillary, on the other hand, a pardon is no vindication. History will show even more clearly that the mark of scandal can never be cleansed from her escutcheon. Her unfavorable rating, already high for a major party’s presidential candidate, will not fall with the remove of years. The chances of getting a Democratic Congress in 2018, not to mention the election of a Democrat to the presidency in 2020, will not be increased by their association with a pardoned felon.
A pardon will not erase the Clintons’ corruption, but with the decks cleared, Trump and conservatives could possibly forge a positive, forward-looking challenge to the stale ideas of the Left. As good as a pardon would be for Clinton’s hopes of staying out of prison, it would be better for her erstwhile political opponents and better still for the average American. President Trump should do the right thing, as President Ford did, and help put our long national nightmare behind us.
It’s good to bear in mind that given this is Donald Trump we’re talking about, it’s highly possible he will stick his finger in the air, check out which way the prevailing winds are blowing and then change his mind.
And I have to admit, there is something absolutely delicious in picturing Hillary Clinton yet again being totally humiliated by none other than Donald Trump! as he extends her this favor.