The White House hinted that it may be granting a pardon to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for any crimes she may have committed in connection with her email server.
When asked a question about President-elect Donald Trump’s intention to appoint a special prosecutor to review Clinton’s emails, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the White House does not announce pardons before they are given out, the Daily Mail reported.
“The president has offered clemency to a substantial number of Americans who were previously serving time in federal prisons,” Earnest told reporters. “And we didn’t talk in advance about the president’s plans to offer clemency to any of those individuals.
“That’s because we don’t talk about the president’s thinking, particularly with respect to any specific cases that may apply to pardons or commutations.”
Clinton had been under FBI investigation for over a year regarding her private email server, but the investigation was closed for the second time in November.
“The president here will, I’m sure, consider using what tools he has in his last couple of weeks, including a pardon, to do what he can before Trump takes over,” Harold Krent, dean of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, told Politico. “There’s a window and presidents have used those windows to accomplish a variety of goals.”
“What he’s going to do with this power in the next two months is really a good question,” said another expert, who wished not to be identified. “There are so many things on the table. ... This whole event is going to cause us to think even more about: what is this power?”
Legal experts added that a pardon for Clinton could do some damage to Obama’s reputation and legacy as president. Obama could face accusations of political favoritism and the act could be viewed by some as an admission of guilt.
During his presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump constantly referred to his opponent as “Crooked Hillary” and even told her that she’d “be in jail” if he were president during a debate.
While Trump’s two potential picks for attorney general, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, have openly advocated for reopening the investigation, the president-elect’s campaign manager said Trump has not been talking about it.
“We have not discussed that at all, and he certainly did not discuss that on his brief phone call with Mrs. Clinton,” Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told MSNBC. “I think you heard his own words last night -- to the extent that one man can as president, certainly Vice President Pence who's phenomenal, they're looking to unify the country. But we haven't discussed that in recent days. And I think that it's all in good time.”
The president’s spokesman also said that he believes Trump will move on in the wake of his victory.
“We have a long tradition in this country of people in power not using the criminal justice system to enact political revenge,” he said. “In fact we go a long way to insulate the criminal justice system from partisan politics.”