During the second Presidential Debate back on October 9, Donald Trump unequivocally stated, if elected, he would ask his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to “look into” Hillary’s “lies” and “deceptions.” That was interpreted to mean that a Trump administration would seek prosecution of Hillary Clinton and pursue the investigation into her email server where the Obama administration left off.
Here’s a reminder of the contentious exchange from just last month:
Trump sounds pretty serious, indicating that the people he speaks with at his rallies are “furious” at what they see as Hillary being let off the hook by the Obama Justice Department.
So, what changed between October and earlier this morning when Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway confirmed that President-elect Trump has no plans to pursue prosecution of Hillary Clinton:
Trump has gone from “special prosecutor” to being a “healing agent” for Hillary Clinton, as reported by the New York Post:
President-elect Donald Trump won’t subject Hillary Clinton to a criminal inquiry — instead, he’ll help her heal, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.
“I think when the president-elect who’s also the head of your party … tells you before he’s even inaugurated he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content, to the members,” Kellyanne Conway told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” who first reported that the president-elect would not pursue his campaign pledge to “lock up” Clinton, his Democratic opponent.
“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 are not among them,” Conway, who is now on the Trump transition team, said in her interview.
She continued: “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.”
At the second presidential debate in October, Trump sounded a much harsher tone.
“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception,” he vowed.
Politically speaking, the best course of action is to not follow through on his promise to appoint a special prosecutor. Doing so would take away from his agenda and simply present a daily drumbeat of stories about how the new Trump administration is insisting on tearing America apart by prosecuting his opponent who won a greater share of the popular vote than he did.
Unlike the potential conflicts of interest we discussed yesterday, this issue cuts right to the heart of Trump’s core supporters. A good portion of them would like to see Hillary in handcuffs, as evidenced by the “lock her up” chants at his rallies in the last few months.
My guess is that some of the sentiment has softened among many of them since Trump won the election and the Clintons are basically retired from serving in public office. What is to be gained for Trump if he did pursue Hillary over her email scandal?
When I heard Trump utter those words during the second debate, I personally scoffed at the prospect given the way new presidents like to push their own agenda. Going back to pursue charges against Hillary would take the spotlight off Trump, which is something he doesn’t like to do.
If you’re a Trump supporter, does this bother you that Hillary will be safe under the Trump forthcoming administration?