Clinton Scandals: Donald Trump now says he won't pursue Hillary
Clinton on criminal charges for her email and Clinton Foundation
scandals — despite pledging during the campaign to name a
special prosecutor to investigate her possible crimes and, if
she were found guilty, to "lock up" the Democratic nominee.
It's a smart move by the president-elect. In a sharply divided
America, a personal vendetta is no way to start a presidency.
During the second presidential debate in October, Trump was
blunt about what he intended to do: "If I win, I am going to
instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look
into your situation because there has never been so many lies,
so much deception."
Now, he's having second thoughts. Just a week ago, he hinted on
"60 Minutes" that he wouldn't pursue an investigation: "I don't
want to hurt them. They're good people," he said of the Clintons.
He virtually repeated that Tuesday to the New York Times,
saying, "I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't. She
went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways."
He also said a possible prosecution would be "very, very
divisive for the country."
Very statesmanlike and generous, though the media won't treat it
that way. Besides Trump, as Hillary Clinton's opponent in the
last election, would be unwise to spearhead an investigation of
her. It's inappropriate for an elected official to pursue
charges against a vanquished political foe who is now a private
citizen, especially for what could be construed as political
Doing so would set a nasty precedent of victors in presidential
elections charging their political foes with crimes — which is
Banana Republic kind of stuff, not worthy of a great republic
such as our own, which has prided itself on over 200 years of
mostly smooth presidential transitions.
But that said, that doesn't mean we think Hillary and Bill
Clinton should go scot-free if crimes are found to have been
committed. We have written extensively about the possible
criminality in both Hillary's email server scandal and the
Clinton Foundation's own scandal. There is ample evidence of
criminal wrongdoing in both.
Yet, while we agree Trump shouldn't himself do it, there are
already investigations ongoing — and they definitely should not
The FBI and several U.S. Attorneys are looking into the
possibility that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
the Clinton Foundation engaged in a kind of pay-for-play
arrangement, in which those who gave money to the foundation got
access and favors from Hillary's State Department. If true,
that's called graft, and it's a felony.
So, yes, it would be unseemly and frankly foolish for Trump to
enter office and immediately focus on a criminal investigation
when there's far more important stuff on his agenda, ranging
from tax and regulatory reform to the repeal of ObamaCare and
closing our porous borders. He'll have his hands full.
As we noted, there's already an ongoing investigation into the
Clintons. It began under President Obama, not Trump, and it
should not be shut down. Just because you run for president
doesn't give you a get-out-of -jail free card. Meanwhile,
Congress has also pledged to look into the allegations against
the Clintons, which at minimum warrant a far deeper
investigation, even if no criminal charges are forthcoming.
Those who sell access to the federal government, no matter who
they are, do not deserve clemency.
As of now, however, neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton has been
charged with a crime. They deserve, as all citizens do, the
presumption of innocence. Still, the investigations already
underway should be allowed to take their course — and when
they're completed, let the chips fall where they may.