Throughout the presidential election, Donald Trump repeatedly promised that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton and hopefully put her in prison. That’s why speculation has run rampant ever since Trump won that Barack Obama might save Clinton by pardoning her before he leaves office.
Now, however, reports are coming in saying that Obama won’t actually be pardoning Clinton.
USA Today reported that Obama won’t be pardoning Clinton because she has not applied to the Office of the Pardon Attorney for executive clemency. Obama discussed “last-minute” presidential pardons at a news conference in August.
“The process that I put in place is not going to vary depending on how close I get to the election,” he said. “So it’s going to be reviewed by the pardon attorney, it will be reviewed by my White House counsel, and I’m going to, as best as I can, make these decisions based on the merits, as opposed to political considerations.”
Last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that Obama has not changed this philosophy after the election.
“I wouldn’t speculate at this point about what impact that may have on hypothetical pardon requests that he receives,” Earnest said. “I’ll just say that the guidance that President Obama shared with you is still operative.”
Since pardons are often perceived as a sign of guilt, there’s also a good chance Clinton would not accept one even if Obama offered it to her. Besides that, pardoning Clinton wouldn’t make Obama look very good to the American people.
“Granting a pardon to Hillary Clinton would be one of the most controversial and misguided clemency decisions that Obama could make,” said Jeffrey Crouch, a professor at American University and author of The Presidential Pardon Power. “Pardoning a former member of his administration to spare her from the hassle and embarrassment of judicial prosecution would be against what the framers of the constitution had in mind for the clemency power. It would also violate his pledge not to grant any politically motivated pardons in his last days in office.”
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