The Clinton camp is probably feeling like they need to do something to turn the corner on all of the bad press they’ve been getting. Sure, the fallout hasn’t been too bad yet. Even when pollsters say that her support is “softening” this month, that still translates into a fifty point lead over Biden. But the real race is going to be kicking into gear eventually and she doesn’t need to be spending her days testifying before some House committee when she could be out on the trail giving $200K speeches. So what to do?
Seth Lipsky at the New York Post has a suggestion, though I suspect it’s of the tongue in cheek variety. Her old boss, Barack Obama, could make all of this unpleasantness go away in a heartbeat. He could just issue her a pardon.
President Obama doesn’t need his phone for this job — just the pen. With but a stroke of it, he could pardon Hillary Clinton for any crimes she may have committed in E-mailgate and spare the rest of us the long drama.
At first blush that might seem ridiculous. Though the press is rattling on about how the former secretary of state has broken all sorts of federal laws in connection with her e-mail, Clinton hasn’t been formally accused of anything.
That doesn’t mean that she couldn’t get a presidential pardon. Richard Nixon hadn’t been indicted of any crime when President Gerald Ford gave him a pardon.
Nor had most of the Vietnam-era draft dodgers that President Jimmy Carter pardoned (on his first day in office).
Fact is that the pardon is the least-fettered presidential power. The president can pardon anyone for any offense against the United States, save for treason.
He doesn’t have to get the consent of the Senate. He doesn’t have to get it cleared by a federal judge.
Say… Lipsky may be on to something here. Sure, I know what you’re thinking… a pardon would look terrible and just make voters think that Hillary had done something illegal. But let’s face it, about half of the people already think that anyway. And the other half apparently either won’t believe it or won’t care no matter what turns up in her private server. (Assuming we ever see it, that is.) With a full and complete pardon, there is no point in asking her any more questions. She’s absolved of everything! Whitewater, TravelGate, Benghazi, the emails… it’s all gone. She’s untouchable.
Another argument against this might be that Obama wouldn’t want to do it. But why not? Do you think he’d worry about it staining his legacy? Hillary’s husband pardoned Marc Rich over screams of protest from both sides of the aisle and the guy has something like a 187% approval rating today. Besides, Obama doesn’t ever need to win another election so he has tons of flexibility, as he explained to the Russians. In fact, the only reason I can think of that the President might not do it is because I suspect that he still really doesn’t like her.
So maybe Hillary should just ask him. You might be thinking that somebody who just asked for a pardon wouldn’t have the nerve to still run for President, but remember… this is Hillary. When asked where the emails were, she calmly said she deleted them. When asked if we could have a look at the server she smiled and said, “No.” And with that she went along on her merry way. Why on Earth would a little thing like wanting a pardon stop her from running?
Go for it, Madam Secretary. You really have nothing to lose at this point.