Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pardon me?

From a lawyer with whom I correspond:

Subject: Hillary Clinton - Continue Investigations, Prosecute or Pardon?

I am of mixed emotions, not mixed opinions, about continuing to investigate Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of government documents, classified and unclassified, obstruction of justice, perjury, etc. With regard to the Clinton Foundation investigation there are the issues of abuse of office, bribery and probably others as well.

I want our laws enforced.  The scale of what she did while in a high public office and the involvement of so many other co-conspirators and accomplices cries out for enforcement as a deterrence against future violations.  To me the tyranny of what Obama, Lynch and the Department of State did to cover up Clinton’s crimes so that she could be elected President were worse than what Clinton herself did.  That was the real abuse of office.  That is not to excuse what Clinton did.  It is impossible to explain to military service members and others who have been imprisoned for much lesser offenses why they were punished and a political figure and her supporters were not.

When Ford pardoned Nixon I was outraged that a President, the highest public official, could so blatantly violate the law and be exonerated, with a public pension and continuing public expense for protection and staff.  In the end I think Ford made the right call; the nation needed to heal.  Ford paid a high price when he was not elected following Nixon’s resignation.

I think there is a good chance Obama will pardon Clinton and many of her entourage using the same argument that the nation needs to move on and Clinton should not be punished for making a “mistake.”  That doesn’t work for me but I hate to have the continued disruption of our government functions and societal upheaval aggravated by continued pursuit of someone who just lost a national election.  Maybe the fear of loss of power and disrepute are sufficient deterrents.  I would prefer that a special prosecutor deal with the investigation and prosecution rather than have continual political hearings.

My (slightly edited for publication)response:

I understand your problem. Months ago I considered this. I’ve come down as follows:

While I don’t think the Nixon comparison works because, inter alia, he was president and she is merely another defeated political candidate, if Obama pardons her that’s that. (To digress: Some of Obama’s forthcoming midnight pardons could make Willie Clinton’s pale by comparison. Anyone remember “Sergeant” Bowie Bergdahl?)

If Obama doesn’t pardon Mrs. Clinton, I am against Congressional hearings because they would not lead to anything substantive. I am for prosecution. Serious crimes were committed. If the Rule of Law means anything, she must pay. How much, is a judgment call by the judicial system.
If she is indicted, even a Trump DOJ will plead it down. I will not be bothered if she goes to prison. After all, other public officials—judges, governors, mayor, legislators— have, as well as other prominent people. I have not heard a convincing argument why she should not pay for her felonious conduct.

If Hillary is not charged, it will be yet another nail in the coffin of public trust, let alone of equal justice.