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Nate Jackson / November 18, 2016

Incoming AG Sessions and a Clinton Prosecution

Trump’s pick for the Justice Dept. could pursue Hillary further.

There’s been much discussion since Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat of whether or when she’ll be pardoned. Of course, the first thing about a pardon would be the admission of guilt, so that much is interesting all by itself. Barack Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, pointedly did not answer the question of whether his boss would pardon Clinton. And Donald Trump has so far demurred about continued prosecution, even going so far as calling the Clintons “good people” and saying, “I don’t want to hurt them.”

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote a fairly lengthy consideration of the various options. (Don’t miss the whole thing.) Would Obama or Trump pardon Hillary? What political capital would it cost to do so? Conversely, would Trump allow the FBI’s investigation to proceed, or would he seek a special prosecutor as he warned on the campaign trail? McCarthy writes, “This is one of what will no doubt be many things that Mr. Trump will find were easier to say in the heat of the moment (a contentious debate between the candidates) than to do in his new political reality. During the campaign, nothing damaged Clinton as badly as the specter of criminal jeopardy. But now Trump has been elected, and he has a governing agenda that will require cooperation from Capitol Hill. A prosecution of Clinton would provoke Democratic outrage, which means media outrage, which, in turn, means Republican panic.”

Besides, Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw muses, “At this point it almost seems as if she’s being punished more thoroughly than any judge could manage. Hillary has essentially become the villain in a Larry Bond novel who works on her evil plot for decades and is within moments of detonating a tactical weapon on the National Mall when some geek comes along at the last second, clips the correct wire on the device and notifies the authorities to come haul her away. She’s serving a four year sentence in a prison named Anywhere But The White House.”

On the other hand, our own James Shott argues, “As secretary of state, Clinton breached security and put at risk sensitive national security information, destroyed evidence, and lied to Congress about it. Others who have done similar things have suffered criminal penalties for their wrongdoing; retired Army General David Petraeus, active-duty Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier, and many others were punished through the legal system for security breaches. So, too, must Clinton be.” In order for Rule of Law to be restored, justice must be applied equally.

Enter Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions. That puts Sessions in charge of both the Justice Department and the FBI, each of which has some form of open probe into Clinton and her email and/or Foundation. Sessions has been quite critical of both agencies’ handling of the investigations thus far and has called for a special prosecutor. This ups the ante for Obama to issue a pardon, because it seems unlikely that Sessions will let Hillary’s loss be punishment enough. In any case, stay tuned…

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