Donald Trump said at a debate last month that he would appoint a special prosecutor to examine Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state and remarked that she would “be in jail” if he were president.
In about two months, he’ll have the power to potentially make that a reality, reports the Washington Post.
He wouldn’t, of course, be able to snap his fingers and throw his political rival behind bars. He would have to order his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor, then count on that special prosecutor to agree with his assessment that Clinton’s email practices violated criminal laws about mishandling classified information. And even if he did all that and Clinton was charged, she would still be afforded a trial, and Trump’s special prosecutor would have to contend with evidence that led the original team of federal investigators to conclude there was not sufficient basis to believe a crime occurred.
Getting that process started, though, would not seem that difficult. Trump gets to pick and appoint the attorney general.
However, President Obama could short-circuit the affair entirely, pardoning Clinton before he leaves office in January. Legal analysts have said that could happen even though Clinton is not charged with any crimes. Such was the case with Richard Nixon, who was given a full pardon by Gerald R. Ford before he was indicted for all offenses he “committed or may have committed or taken part in” during his time in office.
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