Can, and Should, Obama Pardon Hillary Clinton?

presidential polls Donald Trump trump vs clinton


By Krassotkin (derivative), Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Can, and Should, Obama Pardon Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton pardon


Donald Trump

By Krassotkin (derivative), Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Could Follow Recent Precedent, But At Much Less Risk – Expert
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 9, 2016) – Now that Donald Trump has been elected president, pressure is likely to mount on President Barack Obama to issue a full and unconditional pardon to Hillary Clinton to protect her from what many believe is Trump’s perhaps politically motivated and arguably unfair pre-judgment of her criminal guilt, and a major promise of his campaign to have a special prosecutor investigate her, or even to have her put in jail.

It is something Obama can do for which there is a clear historical precedent, and which he could do with far less political blow back than his predecessor, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who was involved in the earlier situation. Any such pardon would clearly be constitutional, argues Banzhaf.

The American Bar Association [ABA] recently reported that consideration had already been given to a pardon for Clinton even before the election, but the need for such a pardon perhaps did not seem very compelling in view of widespread predictions that Trump would be defeated.

There is clear precedent for a president to grant a “full, free, and absolute pardon” “for all offenses against the United States” without naming the offenses; that’s what Gerald Ford did in 1974 for Richard Nixon in order to prevent, as Ford called it, further “prolonged and divisive debate.”

However, his action was seen as controversial and divisive, and may have used up valuable political capital and weakened his presidency. But, if Obama does the same for Clinton before he leaves office, it would not impede or undermine what he had already accomplished.

Now that Trump has in fact been elected, the pressure to issue such a pardon is far stronger.

Trump, in prejudging her situation, repeatedly opined that Clinton had committed serious crimes and should be behind bars. Many other responsible voices have concluded that there is already more than enough evidence to indict her for several serious crimes, and even more for a more thorough investigation.

Indeed, at the second presidential debate, Trump pledged that, were he to become president, he would “instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your (missing email) situation.” When Clinton briefly responded, Trump shot back: “Because you’d be in jail.”

Since Trump is unlikely to change his mind, break the pledge he made to a vast television audience, and a chant about putting her in jail which has been a centerpiece of his campaign, the person chosen as his new attorney general is likely to share his strong feelings about Clinton’s guilt.

Thus Obama may feel that a complete pardon for Clinton is clearly necessary to avoid an oppressive and unfair prosecution of the former Secretary of State, and/or to avoid a major impediment to the country’s healing which so many believe is now clearly necessary.

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About the Author

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D. Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School, FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor, Fellow, World Technology Network, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418

6 Comments on "Can, and Should, Obama Pardon Hillary Clinton?"

  1. Annabeth Jackson | Nov 9, 2016, 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm |

    LOL, how do you pardon someone that isn’t guilty? Good grief, people are ridiculous.

  2. Hillary ALREADY has a pardon. Obama gave it to her over the summer. The President has the power to pardon her AND “classify” the pardon document itself. Yes,…Presidential Pardons do NOT need to be made public! This is why James Comey ran through all her ILLEGAL handling of classified and Top Secret material on a non-government server only to end his report with “….however, Hillary is un-prosicutable” and just walked out the door. The FBI could investigate all they wanted but could NOT touch her! The classified Pardon blocked the FBI dead in their tracks. Also, Comey cannot talk about it or discuss the pardon because he would be breaking the law. It’s brilliant and perfectly lawful to do. It EASY and it also solves everybody’s headach.

  3. Conservative411 | Nov 9, 2016, 1:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    I hope he does pardon her because that will just add to his corrupt legacy.

  4. The entire investigation has been a sham. No one was ever going to prosecute in the Obama admin. Take the information we already have, call a grand jury, and let them deal with it. The woman should be in jail, everyone knows it.

  5. But can he pardon her without an indictment? If not, is it realistic to expect an indictment before Obama leaves office?

  6. I doubt any Trump supporter thinks Trump is going to toss Hillary in jail. Trump says things that have a great punch line…but shouldn’t be taken literally. It is safe to assume the new head of the Justice Department won’t be shutting down any FBI investigations any longer. So if Hillary is guilty of major wrong doing then she’s probably going to see the inside of a jail.

    In the wikileaks Band discusses the $50 million he made Clinton with $66 million more in the pipeline. $116 million for doing nothing? And Band complains that Chelsea’s wedding was partially paid for by the Clinton Foundation and talks about all the various Clinton’s conflict of interests…and the reason for the email was because Chelsea was complaining that Band was making too much money and Band was trying to prove he was well worth the $$$. It all smells…and is possibly illegal. And with a Justice Department not looking out for the Clinton’s we may finally get real justice.

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