Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Donald Trump backs down from prosecuting the Clinton family.

In a major reversal, Donald Trump and his transition team has confirmed that he is not interested in pursuing charges for Hillary Clinton for her e-mail scandal and foundation. Politico. Though Trump didn't take the threat of investigations off of the table, he did say that he thought that dropping his campaign promise would help unify the country. He also said that he didn't want to "hurt the Clinton's". Trump's move would not be unprecedented as many other presidents have let similar issues go once elected. Many conservatives are unhappy with the move and consider it a betrayal of a campaign promise. No matter what though, the president elect has little control over what his pick for attorney general, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, decides to do when assigned. Sessions has been extremely critical over the way that the FBI and Justice Department handled the e-mail investigation.

My Comment:
I've got mixed feelings about this, if it is indeed where Donald Trump wants to go with the investigations. On the one hand, Hillary Clinton and her entourage deserve to go to prison, full stop. Her e-mail scandal alone was criminal and there is probably enough evidence there alone for a conviction. And that says nothing about her foundation, which is essentially a pay to play scheme. 

Plus there is the whole issue of the other massive scandals bubbling under the surface with the Clinton's. They have been accused of many horrible things and even if a quarter of them are true, then they are truly horrible people. I think the American people deserve to understand what kind of people the Clinton's really are. Her supporters should be made to understand the crime they almost committed when they attempted to put Hillary Clinton back in the White House. 

On the other hand, pursuing a case against Hillary Clinton would be extremely divisive and would look terrible. It's fairly unprecedented for a president to come down with the wrath of God on a political opponent after a major election. To do so would anger pretty much all of Clinton's supporters and a fair number of people who didn't support her but also didn't support Donald Trump.

Dropping the investigation would do a lot to heal some of the wounds inflicted during the presidential campaign. Given the fact that the whole country is on edge there is certainly something to be said for ratcheting down tensions. It would also, theoretically, calm down the absolute hysteria in the media about a Trump presidency. Though I have no doubt the media would spin Trump as a monster even if he raised the dead and gave every American their own pony, their attacks wouldn't be taken as seriously if it's clear that Trump is striking a reasonable tone. 

I also have to point out that nothing is set in stone here. I think there is a real possibility that something else is going on. Trump is a master of manipulating and controlling the media and he has been known to use misdirection and deceit to throw them off of what his true goals are. Here's a few scenarios that could play out:

-Trump fully intends to prosecute Hillary Clinton and is only saying this to avoid a Barack Obama pardon. This makes sense, as Obama still has quite a bit of time to do so and if Trump was making a lot of noise about throwing crooked Hillary in jail then Obama probably would pardon her. This move by Trump may not take that threat off of the table but it does make it more unlikely that Obama will pardon her. And if Obama does pardon Clinton, it's a win-win situation for Trump. It makes both Obama and Clinton look like they have something to hide. 

-Donald Trump understands that if the activities of the Clinton's were to ever come to light it would have extreme consequences, foreign and domestic. If the rumors of what the Clinton's are involved in are true, then it would be extremely damaging to pretty much everyone involved in government, including Donald Trump. If it were to be revealed that the Clinton's were involved in human trafficking, for example, it would have the potential to take down the government. Such an outcome really isn't in anyone's best interest and Trump may decide to either ignore the issue or handle it off the record... 

-Donald Trump doesn't have a full accounting of what the Clinton's were up to. He probably hasn't seen the evidence that the FBI has gathered on them. Trump might genuinely think that there was only the email issue and hasn't seen the information about the foundation. He may revisit the issue when he gets an update from Jeff Sessions.

-Donald Trump views the whole matter as a distraction from his other goals. Trump's status as a president is vulnerable and doesn't want to do anything that would weaken or distract him from his other goals. Remember, Trump is trying to do some incredibly difficult things, including completely reforming immigration and dealing with various foreign policy problems. 

All that being said, I hope that the moratorium on the Clinton's doesn't apply to her various supporters and campaign members. People like Anthony Wiener, Huma Abedin and, especially, John Podesta need to be investigated and prosecuted. Unlike Hillary Clinton, many people that worked for her are still likely to work in Washington if they aren't prosecuted. 

My personal hope is that Trump will revisit this issue when he is more established. I really think that Hillary and Bill Clinton deserve to go to prison and for their crimes to be brought to light. I also understand that doing so would have massive consequences that could seriously damage the Trump presidency. I personally would crucify the Clinton's for their crimes, even if the cost would be high, but I certainly understand why Trump made this move... 

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