Could Barack Obama's last act as president be pardoning Hillary Clinton? White House won't rule out last minute clemency

The White House opened the door today to a pardon for Hillary Clinton for crimes she may have committed in connection with her secret server.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest deflected a question about President-elect Donald Trump's intent to appoint a special prosecutor to review Clinton's emails by saying that the White House doesn't announce pardons before they're doled out.

"The president has offered clemency to a substantial number of Americans who were previously serving time in federal prisons. And we didn't talk in advance about the president's plans to offer clemency to any of those individuals," he said.

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Earnest added, "That's because we don't talk about the president's thinking, particularly with respect to any specific cases that may apply to pardons or commutations."

For over a year, Clinton had been embroiled in a FBI investigation into her private email server, but the investigation was closed for a second time just earlier this week.

Obama could pardon her whether she asks for it or not.

Coming up with a pardon that would cover all of the various charges Trump's administration could throw at her could prove difficult, legal experts told Politico.

The clemency declaration would have to be worded such that it protects her from prosecution for potential violations tied to the Clinton Foundation.

A dismissal of potential crimes that wide-reaching would leave a mark on Obama's reputation.

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Back in 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor to the White House, Richard Nixon.

Ford did it for any crimes that Nixon may have committed against the country while he served as president.

At the time, he justified his decision by claiming that an extensive trial would have further polarized the country.

Clinton's husband's departure from the White House was overshadowed when he granted Marc Rich, a fugitive at the time, clemency on his last day in office.

Rich's ex-wife made a large donation to the Clinton Library and was a high-dollar Democratic donor.

In recent months, Republicans have alleged that the senator violated the law, and are pushing to put her behind bars.

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Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, two of Trump's possible picks for attorney general, have openly advocated for a re-do.

President-elect Donald Trump had vowed during the campaign for the White House that he'd appoint a "special prosecutor" to handle the investigation into Clinton and her private email server.

He even told Clinton during a debate that if he were president, she'd "be in jail".

Clinton subsequently told the Daily Mail she had 'no concerns' that would ever happen.

Since winning higher office in the wee hours of the morning Trump has not spoken about his designs for Clinton. He used a victory speech in the wee hours of the morning to highlight the hard work of Giuliani and other members of his team.

His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said on a series of morning shows Wednesday that the subject hadn't come up.

"We have not discussed that at all, and he certainly did not discuss that on his brief phone call with Mrs. Clinton," she said on MSNBC.

Conway suggested that Trump wouldn't pursue a case against Clinton, however.

"I think you heard his own words last night -- to the extent that one man can as president, certainly Vice President Pence who's phenomenal, they're looking to unify the country," she said.

"But we haven't discussed that in recent days. And I think that it's all in good time."

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hold hands as they walk off stage after both spoke at a rally. Photo / AP
President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hold hands as they walk off stage after both spoke at a rally. Photo / AP

Taking a cue from Conway, the president's spokesman indicated today that he too believed Trump move on from Clinton in the wake of his victory.

"We have a long tradition in this country of people in power not using the criminal justice system to enact political revenge," he also said.

"In fact we go a long way to insulate the criminal justice system from partisan politics."

The Clinton Foundation has not been formally probed by the FBI, but it could be in a Trump administration.

She has been accused by her critics, including some within the FBI, of engaging in a pay-to-pay scheme, in which she allegedly traded favors for donations to her family charity while she was at State.

- Daily Mail

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