Should Clinton Be Pardoned?


With Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, the question that has been floating around has been “given Hillary’s crimes and alleged crimes, should Obama pardon Hillary to keep her from out of jail?”

The question is a little more complex than a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

But before we look at what Obama might do, let’s look at what Trump may do if Obama does not protect Hillary with a pardon.

Trump has said during the campaign that Hillary is a crook – and she is. Her disregard for the law is legendary and epic. Her handling of classified / confidential materials on an unsecured server is a violation of the Espionage Act.

The setting up of the server was a violation of rules and regulations on handling of documents. Those rules were later enhanced in 2009, and agreed to by Hillary Clinton.

It is also worth noting that the server was set up to avoid Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. That can be proven as several groups asked for emails to and from Clinton in her capacity as Secretary of state on issues. The FOIA requests came back empty until the Clinton server was discovered. Thousands of previously unknown emails were on that server. It is clear the server not only was there to avoid FOIA requests, but actually worked to do so.

Most reasonable people would say that Hillary should be tried and convicted. We would love to see it happen.

Trump has said that he would seek to have his Attorney General appoint a Special Prosecutor to see just how bad the Clinton corruption was (and is.) Such an investigation would take up to a year and at that point in time, with Clinton being out of the Secretary of State office for many years, people will echo her famous “at this point in time, what difference does it make?” statement. The left will attack the investigation as a waste of time and money as they have done with every other investigation into the illegal activities of Clinton.

Even assuming that one can get past the shrieking of the left, getting a conviction on Hillary would be as difficult as getting convictions on KKK members in the deep south in the past. We doubt very seriously that a grand jury, who would likely have Clinton supporters on it, would vote to indict Clinton.

Even if there were indictments issued, some members of a trial jury will see Clinton as a victim of a malicious prosecution by evil right wing operatives. We doubt they would vote to convict the “first black President” of Bill Clinton and the “equality seeking grandma” of Hillary Clinton no matter what the evidence showed.

In the end, Clinton would walk.

She and her husband would stand out in the sunshine on the court steps and say “we told you we were innocent and this proves it. The ‘vast right wing conspiracy’ has failed again.”

As much as we would like to see Hillary convicted and in jail, we don’t think it would happen. In fact, even if you got to a point of a trial and then lost, you would be handing Democrats a huge chunk of political capital.

We don’t see any upside to trying to prosecute Hillary.

However, assume for a second that Obama thinks that the Trump administration can get a conviction or even that the prosecution of Hillary would expose him, her and the left to damage. Let’s say for a second that Obama thinks the best way out of this is a pardon of Hillary.

That would be a mistake.

Article II, section 2 of the Constitution gives the President the authority to pardon Clinton saying,

…. and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

This ability to offer pardons is unlimited (other than in the case of impeachment for obvious reasons.) There need not be a crime committed or even a crime charged. History shows that President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon when no criminal charges had been filed.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon reads, in part:

Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974. (emphasis ours)

It is clear that the pardon covers anything that Nixon did illegally – known and unknown – at the time of the issuance of the pardon.

So why doesn’t Obama just pardon Clinton in a similar manner? Anything she did – known and unknown – would be “forgiven.”

We don’t think he can offer that pardon. This is not because Obama lacks the authority to pardon her, but what the offer of a pardon means.

To understand, one has to look at the 1915 Supreme Court case of United States v. Burdick.

The case decides what are the meanings and effects of a pardon.

In the opinion, Justice McKenna writes:

This brings us to the differences between legislative immunity and a pardon. They are substantial. The latter carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it. (emphasis ours)

The opinion expanded on a previous case in 1833 called Wilson v. United States in which Chief Justice John Marshall writes:

A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. (emphasis ours)

If Obama pardons Clinton, he is saying by the mere issuance of a pardon, that Hillary is guilty of crimes, something that Obama has steadfastly denied in the past.

If Hillary accepts the pardon, she would be admitting to the crimes, something that she has steadfastly denied in the past too.

We don’t think that Obama can save Hillary by the issuance of a pardon because it means in his mind, she is guilty. She cannot accept the pardon (which she has to in order to make it effective) as she would be admitting she committed crimes.

In our opinion, an Obama pardon of Hillary is a no-go, non-starter. It is dead on arrival on Obama’s desk. To say his Secretary of State’s action were illegal is political capital he cannot afford. The same for Hillary. Both reputations go down the tubes if Obama issues a pardon. The reputations go into a cesspool if Hillary accepts the pardon.

It ain’t gonna happen.

But there is one person who should offer a pardon:

Donald Trump.

Think about it for a moment.

In offering a pardon, Trump will appear to be magnanimous and gracious. He will appear to be putting the past behind and moving forward. He will appear to be more concerned with uniting the country than dealing with Hillary. He will appear to not be persecuting and or prosecuting Clinton out of some political revenge.

He will appear to be the “good guy.”

In appearing to be the “good guy,” Trump would also saying to Hillary, “you’re a crook and you, me, your husband, the government and the world knows it.”

Hillary, on the other hand, would be in the quandary of accepting the pardon and admitting guilt, or letting the investigation into her actions and that of the Clinton Foundation go forward even after Trump offered the pardon because the pardon doesn’t take effect unless is it accepted. (And that would include the taxes of the Foundation that have been called into question.)

Trump should let Hillary and Bill stew and then when the time is right, offer the pardon.

He would win, and in the long run, the Clintons, Obama, and their supporters, would lose.

Editor’s Note: The title of this post was initially “Should Clinton Be Paroled?” Obviously that is wrong and we meant to say “Should Clinton Be Pardoned?”

Thanks to the reader who pointed the mistake out to us.

19 Responses to “Should Clinton Be Pardoned?”

  1. Lars says:

    This whole issue with Clinton criminality is just a right-wing wet dream. If you want a better view of it, you can find it here:

    Please not the source.

    What you all should concentrate on is that Trump did not win the popular vote and only won with razor thin margins in many states. A 50K vote swing in 3 states, out of 120M votes and he would be gone.

    After that, maybe you should realize that about one half of Americans fear and loathe your champion. Many do not want a President Pussygrabber.

    And then there is the matter of him already breaking campaign promises he made to you and we are not even a week from the election.

    There is a whole lot more that will become obvious to everybody except the ones he has found easy to scam. Presumably, they will remain naive, as evident in your fantasy tale.

    • AAfterwit says:


      One would think that you still wouldn’t be able to sit down and type anything after the butt hurt you suffered on Tuesday.

      Even though there doesn’t need to be an indictment, other experts in the field disagree with your source.

      As for the rest, you lost.

      Deal with it.

      It is typical of people of your ilk to run around screaming “we’re gonna win!” and when they don’t complain about the rules, try to justify the defeat, or say how unfair the whole ordeal was.

      It is telling that people like you have taken to violence. We didn’t see that violence in the election of Obama.

      Finally, you can keep talking about what may happen, but that only makes your case and beliefs worse. Even assuming what you say is true, the vast majority of breadth of the county felt that the unknown of Trump was better than the known of Clinton.

      Thanks for the selfie!


  2. Hometown says:

    This will indeed be a tricky issue to resolve, Rudy g. Made a point that if Hillary really is guilty of crimes and you let her skate, how can you then convict others of similar crimes. The laws need to be enforced equally, no matter who you are, no one should be above the law. That said, I would agree that Hillary going to prison would not benefit anyone, I wouldn’t feel safer walking the streets just because she’s locked up. I still believe all the money being passed around behind the scenes is causing our corruption problems. Perhaps they could investigate her foundation and if they’ve broken the law a huge fine could be imposed to set an example that this behavior will not be tolerated, if she’s found innocent she should be left alone.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Rudy is right to an extent. We don’t believe that Hillary will ever be convicted. It is not that the evidence won’t support a conviction, but rather that a grand jury or jury will always have some person on it sympathetic to the idea that Clinton was robbed in the election, should have been president and that the only reason she isn’t is because people are mean and hateful. Oh yeah, screw Trump as well.

      Pardoning her for the emails allows Trump to look magnanimous, while saying that Clinton is guilty. If Clinton accepts the pardon, she admits she is guilty. If she doesn’t accept the pardon, she looks like she and the left really don’t want to move the country forward and be “stronger together.”

      If she doesn’t accept the pardon for the emails, then you simply look into the Foundation taxes which the media reported prior to the election have issues.

      Either way it plays out, Trump looks good, Hillary looks bad.

      You’ll never see her in prison, so the next best thing is to destroy her and Bubba’s image for all time and truly expose them for the crooks and hypocrites they are.

  3. Lars says:

    If there is anyone who is delusional, it is the ones who ignore the results. Yes, Trump won, but barely. Now he has to show that he and the GOP can get stuff done. That is by no means assured.

    Why should people not resist? There is a reason why you and the KKK are pleased with the result. Your champ ran the most divisive campaign ever and many people remember how you all treated Obama after he was elected twice. As I suspected, you all can dish it out, but you can’t take it.

    The vast majority of the people protesting are doing so peacefully and the protests are expanding. Of course, as you and others get overexcited by it, you will just prove how effective it is.

    Don’t forget that soon you will own the federal government and be responsible for all results. I have some doubts about your abilities in that regard. Simpleminded political slogans will not get it done.

    It is even questionable whether Donald Trump will make it for 4 years. Many conservative Republicans would rather see Mike Pence as POTUS.

    Hillary Clinton will not be charged, much less tried, regardless of your fantasies, because most sane Republicans know it will look so bad that it will ignite a firestorm and backfire. It would drown out anything else while it would be going on. Besides, it is all BS to start with. Always was.

    • AAfterwit says:


      If there is anyone who is delusional, it is the ones who ignore the results. Yes, Trump won, but barely.

      290 – 208. Deal with those results.

      The rest of your whine is the typical thing from you of not making a point and denying reality and what has been said.

      You lost.

      Perhaps you might remember when Obama won and made the statement “elections have consequences.” He then told a group of Republicans “I won.”

      You might also remember telling Republicans and conservatives to “go sit in the back of the bus” and “go stand in the back of the queue.”

      That’s the type of graciousness that liberals put forth.

      A. Afterwit.

  4. Hometown says:

    I admit I didn’t like it when Obama was elected twice but I don’t remember anywhere near this level of hate and vitriol being exhibited by the right when they lost. All I remember is the continued blaming of all our woes on George bush, even after almost eight years of an Obama presidency. But I suspect it’s because they were willing to accept their loss and try to move forward using the political system our country was founded on. Also, they didn’t have the funding of the likes of George soros to pay the folks to stir the pot. Now the left and Democratic Party are imploding and besides themselves. The republicans won, the democrats lost, simple as that, time to move on and let our elected officials do their jobs, if we don’t like what they do we can vote them out in the next election. I will continue to remain an independent party member until one side or the other shows me they can get our country back on the right track. But for now trump is my guy and I wish him good luck dealing with all these left wing critics. For a group that claimed trump was the most divisive and hateful candidate I don’t see them doing much to reunite our country.

  5. Lars says:

    If you are unable to realize how divisive Trump has been, you are at best naive. His rhetoric was truly deplorable.

    I wonder what will happen when Trump fails to deliver what he told his supporters what he would do. That process has already started and we are not even a week from the election.

    As the old Chinese curse says: May you live in interesting times. Now we all are. I can just about assure you that if Jeb Bush had won the election, there would be few if any demonstrations, unless he won like his brother.

    It is about Trump and his scammed supporters and it will be ugly for a very long time.

    A market analyst that I have followed for many years, because he is very good, thinks Trump will be our age’s Hoover. I would not argue against it. Before you all get too hot and bothered, this fellow is very conservative politically.

    • AAfterwit says:

      If you are unable to realize how divisive Trump Hillary has been, you are at best naive.

      There. Fixed that for you.

      …….unless he won like his brother.

      So there would be no change. Trump won legally and so did Bush.

      By the way, how are you and your company doing with the new pay requirements for salaried workers?

      Ready to comply with them? Courtesy of your buddy Obama and unelected officials?

      Time will tell what will happen in the country but Trump will have to go a long way to get past the depths plumbed by Jimmy Carter and surpassed by Obama.


  6. Lars says:

    According to my wife, I am retired, so I am not bothered by any requirements other than my Honey Do list.

    You may try to gloat and to engage in your hubris for now but eventually reality will rise and bite your self-important butt. The fact remains that Trump barely got elected and a large segment of the public considers him unqualified, not to mention venal.

    You may ignore the anti-Trump sentiment right now. Of course, he is unable to change to a more even approach, because his base then will feel betrayed. I suspect that fairly soon they will be anyway, if he will try to govern with wide support. Most likely, he will not. His appointments to the top levels of government will show his hand.

    His window of opportunity will be narrow and short and in order to make it, he has to throw you under the bus. Don’t think that he wouldn’t. Donald Trump has always been about Donald Trump.

    • AAfterwit says:

      The problem is Lars that while you focus on Trump, you ignore the fact that Hillary had negative numbers just as low or lower.

      We have said from the beginning that this was not a good election for candidates and that people despised Trump less than they despised Hillary. The fact remains that Trump was elected and that Hillary was unqualified and proven to be venal. (Which is different from a perception.)

      You can’t seem to accept that reality.

      Your candidate lost Lars. An adult would have the grace and class to accept that.

      Try and grow up.

      A. Afterwit.

  7. Lars says:

    I am aware that Trump won, but I am also aware that he barely did so. You, on the other hand, does not want to acknowledge that Hillary actually got more votes than Trump did. History tells us that the last time something similar happened, it did not turn out so good.

    You also seem to have already forgotten the rhetoric used by Trump that is now coming back to bite him. I wonder how you are going to react when it becomes obvious that he has scammed you and all other supporters, as he abandons more and more campaign promises?

    As they say: Be careful about what you wish for. You may get it. Now you have and let’s see how you like it after awhile.

    • AAfterwit says:

      As it does not matter how many votes Hillary got, the acknowledgement doesn’t matter. You really do seem to have issues with laws and the Constitution.

      Trump won.

      Deal with it.

      As for rhetoric, you seem to have forgotten the rhetoric that Hillary used. You seem to have forgotten Hillary’s statements that what you say in private and what you say in public are different things. In essence, as we have said repeatedly, the candidates were both despicable, but Hillary was found to be more despicable and she lost the election.


  8. Hometown says:

    Also, the majority of the country believes our nation is on the wrong track. That is what got trump elected. I say we should give the guy at least a day or two in office before we start criticizing and fearmongering.

  9. Lars says:

    That does not mean much until you define what that track is. Trump will get 4 years to prove himself, but just about 2 million voters choose Hillary. That will be a large problem for him, just as his campaign rhetoric will be. The criticism is about who he is, as expressed by himself.

    Now we will see how much and what he will do. The fact remains that he barely got elected and let’s see if he takes that into consideration. He has set a low standard to get elected. I am not sure that will suffice to govern.

    Those who voted for him have to accept that they bought the low standards. Now we will see if they will continue that.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Track as in the direction of the country.

      Seven out of ten people think the country is on the wrong path. Hillary vowed (at least publicly) to stay on the same path as Obama. That would be a path where people were deprived of their rights, crushing regulations by non-elected officials were foisted on people, racism, sexism, etc.

      How bad is that path?

      After 2 years, the Dems lost the House and then the Senate. That should have told them something, but they (like the Republicans in the mid 2000’s) didn’t listen. Now they have lost the presidency for not listening.

      How bad has it been?

      There are more Republican governors now that when Obama took office, yet Hillary wanted to go down that same path.

      There are more state legislatures controlled by Republicans then when Obama took office, yet Hillary wanted to go down that same path.

      There are more state’s with GOP party control of the legislature then when Obama took office, yet Hillary wanted to go down that same path.

      In graph form:

      Clinton won the popular vote by a small margin yet lost vast swathes of cities, counties and states. The map has never been this red.

      You may think that Trump is a horrible person, but what does it say that Hillary lost to that horrible person? The only thing that can be said is that Hillary was thought to be even more horrible by people living across the country and in more varied areas.

      You keep talking about Trump not keeping his promises which is odd considering that he isn’t even in office, but yet Obama and therefore “same path” Clinton get a pass on their lack of trust and promise keeping.

      The hypocrisy you exhibit is staggering.

  10. Lars says:

    The GOP was in charge in a similar fashion in 1929. We know how well they did. There is nothing new about the party holding the White House losing support, except after Herbert Hoover. There is a long history of that.

    Trump made a lot of promises during the campaign. He is already backing away from some of them, like Obamacare. I expect a lot more, since he is a con man and he scammed enough marks to win the election. Now he and you own the future. Good luck! You are going to need it.

    Just remember that on the other side of that razor thin margin are a lot of Americans and they are still here and many of them will resist what they see as a danger to the country.

    In 1940 my Danish grandmother joined the Resistance and I fully understand why. Hopefully, I won’t have to face the mortal dangers she did. But if you decide to start wearing brown shirts, lease let me know.

    • AAfterwit says:

      So in other words, no matter what, we should expect Trump to lose support because historically, the party that controls the House, Congress and the Presidency loses support.

      Got it.

      It was was fine when Obama and the Democrats lost support but if Trump and the GOP loses support, that will show he is a con man.

      We get it Lars. You want different standards for judging people. The hypocrisy is strong in you.

      As for brown shirts, it is not the GOP and conservatives that are against free speech, freedom of the press, etc. It is Democrats and liberals like yourself who are. You seem to forget that Hitler was a socialist and not a conservative.

      A. Afterwit.

      PS – Trump is not yet the President. Your continual whining about what he has done or not done is just more sour grapes from the losing side.

  11. Lars says:

    That should be: Please let me know.