The Trump administration will not further investigate Hillary Clinton related to her email use
Kellyanne Conway said that most Americans still don't trust Clinton
During the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, would join crowds of his supporters in chants of “lock her up!” and said to her face during a debate that if he were president, “you’d be in jail.”
But now that he actually will be president, Trump says he won’t recommend prosecution of Clinton, who he told New York Times reporters has “suffered greatly.”
What’s more, he said the idea of prosecuting Clinton is “just not something I feel very strongly about.”
The quotes come from the tweets of New York Times reporters Mike Grynbaum and Maggie Haberman, who attended a meeting between the President-elect and reporters and editors at the paper.
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Trump said, according to the tweets. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”
It’s a stunning departure from the campaign rhetoric, which could come as a shock to some of the President-elect’s most ardent supporters. The Times characterized one exchange as extending an olive branch to Clinton supporters.
“I think I will explain it that we, in many ways, will save our country,” he said.
He said the issues have been investigated “ad nauseum” and he added, according to Haberman, that people could argue the Clinton Foundation has done “good work.”
The about-face on his formal rival and suggestion that the Trump administration will not pursue further investigations of Clinton related to her private email server or the Clinton Foundation first came Tuesday morning from Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who said it would send a message to other Republicans.
“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.”
At the second presidential debate in early October, Trump threatened Clinton, saying that “if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”
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.
Steve Vladeck, CNN legal contributor and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said it was unusual for a President-elect to take such a public position on whether to pursue an investigation.
“Even though the attorney general reports to the president, the Department of Justice is meant to exercise a degree of independence from the White House entirely to avoid the perception that political considerations, rather than legal ones, are behind decisions to (or to not) prosecute,” Vladeck said in an email. “Indeed, we’ve seen plenty of scandals throughout American history in which presidents have wrongly politicized the Justice Department’s role, and President-Elect Trump’s comments don’t exactly augur well for preservation of the line between law and politics over the next four years.”