Pardon Hillary

This may be the last message you expected from me, but Obama should pardon Hillary.  If Obama does not, Trump should.

Look, I am a FOIA absolutist.  Long before it came out that Clinton may have had top secret emails on her home server, I wanted to see her punished for her flouting of public accountability laws.  Her whole home-brewed email system was a transparent attempt to evade FOIA, and consistent with her history of attempting to duck transparency (going all the way back to her abortive health care initiative she ran as First Lady).  In addition, I have had it up to here with bogus non-profits that pretend to do charity work, but are in fact merely lifestyle and influence maintenance devices for their principals.  I would love to see the Clinton Foundation investigated (though market forces may take care of that institution on their own, as it is unlikely donors will be sending much money their way now that the Clintons have no prospect of returning to power).

But the optics, and precedents involved, with a winning candidate's administration criminally prosecuting the election's loser are just terrible.  Even if entirely justified, the prosecution smacks of banana republic politics.  And even if it were justified, half the country would not see it that way and next time, when the parties are reversed, as sure as the sun rises in the East there will be folks looking to duplicate the prosecution in the other direction.

The rule of law is seldom helped by ignoring wrong-doing, but in this case I will make an exception.

Postscript:  By the way, what could be a better political FU than having Trump pardon her?   An attempted prosecution could last for years and could lead nowhere.  But nothing leaves the impression of "your guilty" like a preemptive pardon (see Richard Nixon).  From a political point of view Obama should pardon her just to prevent Trump from doing so and getting credit for being a healer.


  1. August Hurtel:

    To be frank, I don't really care that much about her. She's out of power. In some sense, investigating her would be a waste of time. BUT there's a general need for many, many investigations, hopefully even reaching into the Republican side of the aisle. D.C. needs to be cleaned out. Trump should put some people to work, watching the last decade of c-span. Those who are guilty and still in power need to prioritized.

    When are you going to take that time you said you were going to take to think about how wrong your worldview must be in the light of this election? The people want her taken down. Again, since she's out of power, she shouldn't be the priority, but he needs to appoint a special prosecutor, just like he promised.

  2. Rondo:

    No, she broke the law and is a traitor.

  3. Jim Collins:

    Not only no, but HELL NO! I personally know people who have had their careers and lives ruined because of MINOR security violations. The only message pardoning her would send was that she was RIGHT and did NOTHING wrong. Put her in front of a Jury. If they find her innocent, so be it.

  4. SamWah:

    I say NO. Leave her hanging, twisting in the wind, with thorough investigating until the day before he leaves the White House.

  5. Not Sure:

    "I personally know people who have had their careers and lives ruined because of MINOR security violations."

    All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. It's always been that way and it always will be.

  6. mogden:

    Obama should pardon both Hillary and Trump.

  7. mlhouse:

    Here is the real issue: would HIllary accept a pardon. Acceptance of a pardon is a full admission of guilt. When Ford offered the pardon to Nixon, Nixon took time to ponder his decision. My guess is that Hillary Clinton would refuse to accept a pardon from Barack Obama or anyone.

    Trump should obviously ignore it. Crimes were committed by Hillary Clinton, her staff, and others including the technical support people who took the 5th. But, even with an indictment gaining a conviction of anyone up the ladder would be extremely difficult and this is also the reason why Hillary has escaped criminal indictment before. The special prosecutors had just as much evidence, if not more, against her than they had to convict former Deputy Attorney General Web Hubbell. They also knew that gaining a conviction against the sitting First Lady was going to be an impossibility. My saying is that Hillary has been an "unindicted co-conspirator" so many times she should change that to her middle name.

    So, why create the political circus and bring back the martyrdom of the Clintons in which they bask so gloriously. Let the Clintons fade away. There time has passed. So has the Bushes. The Bush-Clinton dynasty has dominated the national political scene my entire life. A Bush or Clinton has been on the nation ticket or was a national candidate since 1980, 36 years. Three President, a vice-president, three governors, five presidential candidates, and four presidential nominee. In those 36 years, the only time that there was not a Bush or a Clinton on the presidential ticket (as President or VP) or as a contender for the nomination was 2012, and there was a Bush or a Clinton as the presidential nominee on five consecutive presidential elections, and six total.

    Let them ride into the sunset. Their access to power is now much more limited. They aint worth $500,000 a speech or $12 million in gifting to the Foundation because they can no longer deliver.

  8. auralay:

    “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

    Attributed to Oscar Wilde

  9. morganovich:

    i have to say, i am VERY surprised to see you take this tack.

    it's basically a "she's to big to prosecute" argument. who cares about "optics"? what about justice and each person standing equal before the law?

    this sounds like Machiavelli and trotsky, not principled, rights based notions of liberty and justice.

    and what of the clinton foundation? is that to be swept under the rug as well? what's the message there? that graft, influence peddling, and the misappropriation of funds is find so long as you do so much of it that no one dare cry foul?

    where is the justice in that scenario?

    this is a very disappointing tack for you to take.

    too big to fail is bad in a bank, but fatal in a politician.

  10. Veilwar:

    Coyote, I deeply disagree with you here. While the optics of a president prosecuting the loser are bad, letting her walk free is even worse optics. It presents the image that it doesn't matter that the Clintons have run a criminal empire on the backs of the American people and has even killed people to cover its tracks. It says that if some people are above the law and we do not all have the same protections. This will discourage the little remaining faith so many Americans have in a quickly deteriorating system.

    This idea of pardoning her for optics is a "I'm going to abandon the system to save it" line of thinking. Lady Justice must be blind or she is not justice but a tool for one group to use against another.

    And if the reverse happens in the future, it will be deserved as anyone that commits crimes of the magnitude and multitude that the Clintons have done should be prosecuted under the full extent of the law no matter what party they are part of.

  11. Joe - lets be real and practic:

    "But the optics, and precedents involved, with a winning candidate's administration criminally prosecuting the election's loser are just terrible. Even if entirely justified, the prosecution smacks of banana republic politics."

    I actually agree - my preference would have been to prosecute her back in 2015, though I dont think it is politically viable today.

    I would like to see a forfeiture of her ill gotten gains,

    Lastly, even if prosecuted/indicted, the probability of conviction is zero. when 50% of the voting population voted for her, even with the well known knowledge of her criminal enterprise, How is it possible to seat 12 unbiased jurors.

  12. J_W_W:

    You are absolutely correct. The big point of holding her accountable for her crimes was to not allow her to run for President. Now that that is off the table, prosecuting her is pointless.

    I do however want the new attorney general clean house at the DOJ because of their coverups and corruption.

  13. J_W_W:

    Its a pardon, not a not guilty verdict and it is part of the system. It is an urestrained constitutional power of the President.

  14. mlouis:

    So let's fix one case that we can

  15. Not Sure:

    I'm not opposed to the idea, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

  16. GoneWithTheWind:

    Here is where I disagree. Like Bill Clinton's impeachment where his serious crimes were ignored by the press and Democrats and was all spun as though he merely had sex with an intern (and who hasn't done that wink, wink). The spin on Hillary is her private server was all a mistake, nothing more or that her 'charity' was merely mishandled and no harm no foul. But those 'crimes' are nothing compared with what she has done. She knowingly and eagerly sold her office and her (and Bill's) power to the highest bidder who was often an enemy or at the least those who never had our best interests in mind. AND to do this she had to have the private server AND this fact alone allowed our international enemies to access and read ALL of our state secrets in a timely way that caused us very real harm and killed people. We will never know the full extent of the harm Hillary has done to us in her criminal zeal to become extrodinarily wealthy. The American people deserve to know the facts/truth. It will be stunning and scary but we deserve and need to know. Lastly and simply pardoning her is defacto interfering with the investigation and justice and would be as irresponsible as the many crimes she has committed.

    I don't think Obama will pardon her unless and until she puts about $10 million in a secret overseas account in his name. I do expect her to do that. I also expect her to move her assets offshore and perhaps move herself (and Bill) offshore as well.

  17. kidmugsy:

    I don't see how Coyote can reach this conclusion without knowing what the FBI has on her, and suspects her of.

  18. rxc:

    Obama will offer pardons to all three of the Clintons, and to all of their staff who participated in their activities. He will probably not issue it until the last day. If they reject the pardon, because it involves admission of guilt, that would put them on the spot. I think that the stuff in the Weiner PC might be enough to start a prosecution of the Clinton Foundation corruption, which has not been talked about very much. We don't know what sort of immunity the Justice Department gave any of them to see their emails.

    Maybe the best thing to do is to throw all of the emails, especially the ones about the Clinton Foundation, and all of the prosecutor's documents, out into the public record. An FOIA from a sympathetic journalist for all the documents could be the trick to make it happen without seeming to be vindictive. It would be like chum in the water.

    The most important thing for Trump to do is to replace all the Justice Dept people who dealt with the emails, and also the IRS people who were supposed to oversee the Clinton Foundation.

  19. morganovich:

    though a deeply questionable one.

    i'm pretty baffled by inclusion of a presidential pardon in the US constitution. it seems deeply dissonant with the rest of the principles therein. it smack of just the sort of autocratic power our founders opposed.

    it's difficult to see just why it's there. what notion of justice or a republic does it support?

    so, i rob you, get convicted, squawk to my pal BO the president, and he pardons me.

    does that not utterly abrogate your rights though the fiat of one man?

  20. August Hurtel:

    I could only see Obama pardoning the Clintons if he gets something out of it. Remember, Obama can't pardon himself. He is already implicated in this email stuff because he used to email Clinton under an assumed name. Then there is whatever Obama may be guilty of. It may be in Obama's interest to toady up to Trump instead.

  21. kidmugsy:

    I incline to favour prosecution if only for one reason. I want to see how quickly Hillary can swap from claiming to be in fine health to pleading that she shouldn't go to prison because of her Parkinson's, alcoholism, or whatever else ails her.

  22. rxc:

    It is in the Constitution to allow the executive to cure a bad decision by the courts or a bad law by the legislature. You really need something like this to make the system work properly. Something similar exists in the military, where the executive officer is given the "bad cop" function, while the commanding officer has the final say, and the right to correct a bad decision. Or in the courts, where you have several layers of appeals to deal with bad decisions by the lower level judges. You have to trust the system to not appoint too many wrong people in bad positions, but you always need to provide a way out for the convicted, to give people hope that they can be rescued from unjust persecution. It is part of the checks and balances.

  23. C078342:

    Yes, she broke the law and flaunted her behavior and should be prosecuted to protect the rule of law in the US. There is nothing banana republic about this. The real banana republic behavior would be to allow her to be above the law. As to being a traitor, this is a bit more complicated to me. Being a traitor involves betraying one's country, friends, a cause or a trust. I'm not sure she betrayed the US, as to me this would involve "giving aid and comfort" to an enemy and I'm unsure of whom that enemy would be. But she certainly betrayed a trust, with the purpose of protecting herself and her accomplices from future scrutiny. But, Ding Dong, the witch is dead and thank God for that.

  24. Nehemiah:

    This post really disappoints me.

    Wikileaks has provided prima facie evidence of wrong doing. That cannot be ignored. A special prosecutor must be appointed and a full investigation commenced. This isn't about revenge. The rule of law is important. We can't have one set of laws for the elites and another for the plebs. If there was wrongdoing and it isn't punished than every politician will set up a foundation for their spouse and use it to peddle influence and feather their nest. The last thing we need is for the ruling class to have another way to scam us.

  25. Keith Jackson:

    I get the argument that prosecuting her would create a precedent which could turn into a tit-for-tat battle, further driving the partisans to the extremes. In four or eight years, a Democrat could charge Trump with crimes, real or trumped up.

    I argue that it depends on the extent of the criminal malfeasance. If Comey and Lynch obstructed investigations for political reasons, as seems to be the case, I would like to see the result of a non-political investigation. Make that investigation as transparent as possible. If it turns out there was outright bribery or other serious felonies involved in the Clinton "charities", selling influence as the Secretary of State, or a major risk to security, that should be exposed. If Trump decided to pardon her AFTER criminal behavior was detailed, I could accept that as a means to heal divisions. Note that Richard Nixon was pardoned AFTER his criminal behavior had been investigated and exposed, minus the evidence they destroyed.

    On the other hand, if Richard Nixon had been sent to prison, without Ford's pardon, wouldn't that have put the elites on notice that their secretive corruption could be punished? As it stands, many of these people think they are above the law. Indeed, Hillary Rodham worked on the Watergate investigation as a lawyer for the Democrats, yet still engaged in shady, secretive behavior, considering herself above the law. If she were convicted of crimes, that could send shock waves through the elite establishment and perhaps some of them would think twice before engaging in criminal behavior.

    Jerry Zeifman, counsel and chief of staff for the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate investigation, accused Hillary of hiding the files on Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who faced an impeachment attempt in 1970, and drafting a brief to argue that Nixon didn't have a right to counsel during impeachment. Zeifman further stated that Hillary would have been disbarred had she actually filed the dishonest brief.

  26. curtis:

    No. She belongs in jail alongside Huma and Mills. They did the crime and they belong in jail. Honestly, if we can jail Martha Stewart, we can jail some real criminals.

  27. Andrew_M_Garland:

    By all means pardon Hillary, after just a few things first.

    () Reform the FOIA law to state that we really didn't mean it. Announce that we really don't need transparency in government. Our betters need privacy to do their good works upon us peasants.

    () Reform the laws about charities to allow distributions to the board of directors, or anyone, for either charitable or non-charitable purposes, for either non or pro-political causes.

    () Reform the laws about handling classified materials. Announce that they are all security theater, and that no one in real authority ever took them seriously. Pardon and pay restitiution to the peasants who were punished or imprisoned as part of that theater. Announce that the real reason for classification is to protect the vital political plots and plans of the elite.

    () Affirm in law that the primary reason to serve in high office is to make a fortune through insider trading, front-running changes in property values from public works, and selling influence and permits for all of the projects which government can block. Affirm by general declaration of the House and Senate that Bill and Hillary do not deserve to be punished merely for achieving wealth in the usual and approved way.

    () Approve by law the right of the President to communicate with anyone, about issues classified or not, outside the reach of FOIA or any congressional subpeona, using pseudonyms as he may, by either government communications systems or private Hillary email.

    () Approve by law that the departments of government may be used to benefit the people and the political party in control, as part of the perquisites of having won an election.

    Merely clear up a few of these things. Explain why the prior broken laws were only a joke among gentlemen in power. Assure all politicians going forward that their fundamental human desire for wealth through power and favoritism is understood in both parties, and that they will be, and should be pardoned in the unlikely event they are caught.

    How can we expect a politician to stay within the law, when that would mean receiving only a salary and some free meals? They should put the truth out there and relax. Surely the peasants will understand. And really, who cares if they understand?

    Then, pardon Hillary, the Democratic party, and even the Republican party en masse. It is the humane thing to do, to bring us all together after a divisive and troubling election.

    Really, we have to work on that election thing.

  28. Ann_In_Illinois:

    And I hope that they will make sure that everyone involved, such as Huma and Cheryl Mills, cannot ever, ever get a security clearance.

  29. Ann_In_Illinois:

    You made many good points, one of which is that others who have faced any kind of penalty for mishandling classified materials should also be pardoned.

  30. Ann_In_Illinois:

    George W. Bush was magnanimous and did not let his administration investigate the many, many ties between the Clinton administration and foreigners, especially the Chinese. Remember Charlie Trie, John Huang and James Riady, among others? Bush didn't want to diminish the Presidency by investigating the Clintons taking money from foreign governnments. Thanks to that choice, a decade and a half later we still had problems with the Clintons taking money from foreign governments.

  31. mx:

    If you're going to outright accuse her of murders as part of a coverup, at least tell us who she killed and why.

  32. mesaeconoguy:

    I don’t think you can.

    One of the largest undercurrents to the election was Rule of Law vs. Rule of Man. The optic of Hitlary getting a pass – twice – with multiple felonies in full public view likely tipped the scales for the undecideds against her and for Trump.

    Further, setting a precedent as dangerous as this one where a senior member of government acted with criminal recklessness walks free entirely unscathed is simply too great a danger.

    Possibly if she had withdrawn from the race once the Weiner emails came out, then you could make this argument. She came within a hair of winning the whole thing, and would not have changed course at all, forcing a major crisis.

    I understand pardoning her in the interest of reconciliation, but the precedent is just too dangerous here.

  33. Matthew Teague:

    I would pardon Hillary, and then quietly prosecute and jail every aid who perjured themselves. I would have the IRS do a full investigation on the foundation and remove its tax exempt status if warranted.

  34. mesaeconoguy:

    And Nixon resigned.

    Hitlary never had any thoughts of withdrawing, because she was entitled to win. Had she possibly withdrawn, then this argument might be more palatable.

    She is extremely dangerous, and should be prosecuted. This will cause further derangement and outrage on the left, but they forced this issue.

  35. Not Sure:

    "This will cause further derangement and outrage on the left..."

    Further derangement? I wouldn't think this is possible, but I've been wrong before.

  36. mesaeconoguy:


    As we have seen on various social media outlets, there are widespread calls for Trump’s murder, and continued violence.

    Plus, 1968 DNC. Etc.

  37. Eau de Javelina:

    Coyote this may be your first post that I disagree with. I'm less concerned about the amateurish home-brew server than I am the Clinton Foundation. If we give them a pass, every cabinet level politician going forward will think it's okay to sell out the country and enrich themselves because they'll get pardoned for the sake of appearances and national unity. I would have the FBI and DOJ calmly, dispassionately and without partisanship (if that's possible) examine the whole damn enterprise from bumper to bumper. No leaks, no immunity and no rush to judgment. What Nixon did was absolute child's play compared to what IT APPEARS the Clintons did. If indicted find a special prosecutor that both sides respect and let the chips fall where they may.

  38. johnmoore:

    Wrong! The rule of law calls for Hillary to be investigated, just like any other citizen. If that results in prosecutions, so be it. The Nixon pardon was at a very special time, and it failed anyway. Ford lost, and the Democrats gave Vietnam to the communists. Ford should have let Nixon be prosecuted. I say that knowing that Hillary is far worse than Nixon - for all his faults, Nixon was both a patriot and a very competent operator on the international scale. Hillary was not, and she and Nixon both cheated.

    To pardon Clinton would be to further reinforce the view, which already is largely correct, that the US is run by a royal elite. When too many people get that attitude, things get really, really ugly. Ask the French about their revolution!

    Also, the laws regarding handling of classified material are very important. We don't need another traitor like Snowden getting off with a "Hillary defense." When I handled national secrets, I took it seriously. My father, who handled them at the highest level, took them so seriously that I didn't even know what he did for a living for 10 years, and then only learned some of it because I was cleared for the same information.

  39. johnmoore:

    Errr... we already have one of your criteria: a major risk to security. It doesn't get any higher than sending TOP SECRET/SAP information to your foreign, completely uncleared maid to have it printed and then delivered to your SCIF by her!

  40. johnmoore:

    I believe he can pardon himself. At the least, this is untested.

  41. johnmoore:

    NO. The big point was to apply the rule of law to the elite, not just to the enlisted Navy sailor who is now in jail for selfies with CONFIDENTIAL equipment in the background. Hillary was careless with TOP SECRET/SAP and TOP SECRET/SCI, and had her maid print classified email and deliver it to her Special Compartmentalized Information Facility - where only people with TS/SCI clearances are supposed to go.

    Pardoning Hillary sends the message that if you are big enough, you skate.

  42. Keith Jackson:

    There needs to be a complete, non-political Iinvestigation.

  43. Cardin Drake:

    While I think Hillary deserves to be prosecuted, there's no advantage to Trump to do it. It would not be good politics for Trump to pardon Trump, however. It would enrage his base. It would be a clear signal that he is joining the establishment.

  44. obloodyhell:

    Smarter if Trump does it. If Teh One does it, it smacks of the "fix is in" even more than it already has appeared to be.

    Trump should steal any thunder and announce it NOW though.

  45. Agammamon:

    You make a decent argument that Trump's administration should not pursue this investigation further - but that's a pretty horrible argument for giving an amnesty (not pardon - pardon's are post conviction forgiveness of a crime, amnesties are pre-conviction 'forgetting' a crime occurred).

  46. wreckinball:

    He can't. Obama can.
    There are numerous examples of guys being prosecuted for the same crime right now for basically nothing relatively. Like screwing up one time.

  47. esoxlucius:

    You are right. It's the high road.

  48. Thane_Eichenauer:

    I disagree with the main portion of this post. I agree with the postscript. I care less who would do the pardoning as that is a question of partisan credit.

  49. Thomas Reid:

    I'm with you.

    The risk we face from a few corrupt foundations going unprosecuted pales in comparison to the risk we face if the winners in presidential elections start turning their awesome power on their defeated opponents.