Friday, November 11, 2016

What to do with Hillary?

Now that the election is over, what happens with Hillary Clinton. During the campaign Donald Trump promised to prosecute her for her email server. There are accusations of influence pedaling and other abuses of power.

It appears clear that Mrs. Clinton broke the law. Several ordinary people have been prosecuted and jailed for lesser violations of classified document rules. By this standard, she ought to be prosecuted.

However, I think any attempt by a new Trump administration to prosecute Mrs. Clinton would be a mistake. The email scandal was driven by political considerations. Opinions on whether to prosecute, and even whether there was any misuse of power, were driven by politics -- the left feels she's innocent, the right she's guilty. Any prosecution of Mrs. Clinton next year will look more like a vendetta than a quest for justice.

So what to do? Mr. Trump should not push any prosecution of Mrs. Clinton. At most he should publicly state that he is leaving the prosecution to career FBI and Justice Department personnel and stay out of it. However, there's no way he could do that without claims he's secretly driving the prosecution behind the scenes. So Mr. Trump should stop any prosecution of Mrs. Clinton unless some new revelations demand it. Perhaps state that she'll be prosecuted when Democratic leadership in Congress demands it (implying a truly bipartisan outrage).

There is another option open to Mr. Trump which I thought of this morning. It will avoid discord over Mrs. Clinton's alleged crimes (whether conservatives wanting to "lock her up" or liberals decrying a political vendetta) and allow the country to move on. Donald Trump could instead take a page from the Watergate scandal and pardon Mrs. Clinton for any past crimes. This avoids any future complaints about political vendettas while leaving the country with the message "she's guilty".

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