Trump supporters have been hopeful that Hillary Clinton would somehow pay for her email scandal, while Hillary supporters are on edge about what Trump might do. President-elect Donald Trump surprised us this week with the announcement that he is not interested in pursuing the investigation.
“I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy, but if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing,” said Trump transition leader Kellyanne Conway on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Look, I think he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the president of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign aren’t among them.”
Trump later told the New York Times “It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about.” He added that prosecuting Hillary would be “very divisive for the country.”
Trump’s decision contrasts sharply with the cries of “lock her up” that accompanied him throughout the final months of his campaign. On top of that, many insist that Trump has no right to interfere with what should be independent prosecutorial decisions.
The President-elect’s decision not to pursue the investigation would be an unusual break with protocol, which holds that the AG and FBI make decisions about investigations without pressure from the Oval Office. Legal experts agree that any pressure from or attempt by Trump to influence whether the investigation continues would threaten the integrity of the DOJ.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius sees it differently. “It’s not seemly for an incoming administration to seek to prosecute the actions of his rival in the election,” explains Ignatius. “It’s what happens in banana republics, so there’s the optics.”
Trump’s supporters are more likely to admire him for backing down than attack him for breaking his promise to throw Hillary in jail, while the Dems have responded with a mix of gratefulness and annoyance.
But there are a few members from each party who insist that Donald Trump has stepped out of line, and Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz insists the investigation will continue. “It would be totally remiss of us to dismiss [the email investigation] because she’s not going to be president,” says Chaffetz.
“In our democracy, the President doesn’t decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t,” complains Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Trump’s decision to not pursue investigation signals that the Trump/Clinton fight has come to an end, says MSNBC commentator Harold Ford Jr., and the President-elect is ready to “move on to policy and the recommendations he’s going to make for the nomination.”
Eidtor’s note: I notice in his statements the door is still slightly ajar, just a tiny about of wiggle room to prosecute if the situation changes. Perhaps Mr. Trump has some side dealings along the lines we have suggested before in dismantling the Clinton machine.