by Geoffrey Grider, NowTheEndBegins:
We should first note that the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton would not bind the Trump administration. Until relevant statutes of limitations have expired, she could still be prosecuted by the new administration.
FROM PRES. OBAMA’S PERSPECTIVE, THE DECISION TO GRANT OR WITHHOLD A PARDON IS A POLITICAL AND A PERSONAL ONE. LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS DO NOT DIRECTLY ARISE.
Executive orders barring offshore drilling in most U.S. Arctic waters; an abstention at the U.N. permitting the Security Council to declare all Israeli settlement activity to be illegal and an obstacle to peace; the possibility of further action at the U.N. to formalize the administration’s comprehensive vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict—Pres. Obama is sprinting, not jogging, to the finish-line.
In dashing through his last few weeks in office, will one of Pres. Obama’s final acts be to pardon Hillary Clinton for any violations of federal law she might have committed while she was secretary of state?
IT’S AN INTERESTING AND COMPLEX QUESTION
We should first note that the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton would not bind the Trump administration. Until relevant statutes of limitations have expired, she could still be prosecuted by the new administration. It is possible in my opinion for Clinton to be prosecuted for either her improper handling of classified information on “home brew,” or allegations of “pay to play” arrangements between the secretary of state and donors to the Clinton Foundation, which could constitute bribery.
WOULD PRESIDENT OBAMA PARDON CLINTON?
The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is five years from the commission of the offense; that would apply to the two categories relevant to Mrs. Clinton. Her tenure as secretary of state ended Feb. 1, 2013, so it is possible that the statute of limitations will not run until Feb. 1, 2018, more than a year after Mr. Trump takes office.
What looks like one question—will the president pardon Mrs. Clinton?—turns out, on analysis, to be two. The first question is: Would Mrs. Clinton wish to receive a pardon?
That question seems to be a proverbial no-brainer. Surely, any person who had been in federal government would be eager to receive a presidential pardon, because it eliminates even the possibility of federal prosecution. That looks like all upside and no downside.
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