Well, this is a first.
Many presidents reach the end of their term and there are discussion about them pardoning themselves. It was certainly true for Bill Clinton. George Bush had the “Bush lied people died” nincompoops baying for his blood. But this is the first time, ever, we’ve had a candidate for president on the very eve of Election Day being investigated by at least two separate divisions of the FBI and there are serious discussions about whether it is best for Obama to pardon her or let her pardon herself.
It does not take much clairvoyance to predict that Clinton’s most strident opponents may seek to extend the use criminal investigations as a political tactic to undermine her presidency if she wins the election next week. That prospect triggers a startling idea: Should President Barack Obama simply pardon Clinton if she wins the election?
The allegations against Clinton seem minute compared to the subjects of previous efforts at reconciliation. Although FBI Director James Comey called Clinton’s handling of classified information “extremely careless,” he determined that it did not remotely rise to the level of a prosecutable violation. The endless carping about “Benghazi” has produced virtually nothing of moment, and neither formal nor media inquiries into the Clinton Foundation have uncovered any clear example of a “pay-to-play” scheme. Some Clinton opponents are now predictably grasping at the last resort: an attempted charge of perjury. Historians may ultimately see this as little more than an effort to criminalize political animosity.
A presidential pardon could short circuit some of this maneuvering. The Constitution gives the president the power “to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,” and it could be used here. The public is aware of the allegations against Clinton, yet she has continued to lead in election polls. If voters choose her for the presidency, their decision that the allegations are not disqualifying deserves respect. A presidential pardon could ratify that assessment.
But what if a “smoking gun” eventually emerged? The president’s pardon power has a major exception. He cannot immunize anyone from impeachment or removal from office. Congress has the exclusive power over those important proceedings. They would remain options in the event that compelling evidence of a crime ultimately did emerge against Clinton, however unlikely that may seem.
Frankly, Congress is where these matters belong anyway. The criminal inquiries have been proceeded from the start in the shadow of intense political objectives. Rhetoric to the contrary, the political goal of Clinton opponents has not really been to “Lock her up!” It has been hobbling her as president or even removing her from office. Those are political considerations. Relegating this fight to Congress where it belongs could extricate the Justice Department and FBI from what may now be a hopelessly politicized process and relieve them from more crossfire, pressure, and intrigue.
As best one can tell from reading this craptacularly edited dog’s breakfast of non-sequiturs and wishcasting, the good professor — if your kid is considering law school steer them away from the Albany Law School which seems to attact batsh** crazy liberals the way velcro attracts lint –seems to hold the opinion that a) Clinton has done nothing wrong, b) even if she has, so freakin what you wingnut h8ers, the voters want her, and c) a pardon admits wrong doing, so see point a).
I agree with him on one point. Obama will not pardon Clinton because it would forever be the one feature of his presidency, other than presiding over the total and utter collapse of American foreign policy, that would be discussed forever. Plus he doesn’t really care about Clinton. The professor is also right that a pardon can’t forestall impeachment but the mistake he makes, a mistake that will become glaringly obvious in the next couple of months, is that Clinton is in real legal jeopardy and, if she wins, she is going to be forced to pardon her inner circle, if not herself, and her having to deal with impeachment is not farfetched.