Donald Trump openly talked about sending Hillary to prison while on stage with her during a debate. Many of us would like to see Hillary Clinton held accountable for her past actions. And yet a lot of leftists who wanted George W. Bush tried for war crimes have suddenly decided that arresting former government officials isn’t always pragmatic. The former Secretary of State and presidential candidate still has a number of options left to stay out of Club Fed.
Obama could pardon her. A pardon would end all discussion of Mrs. Clinton serving time for Emailgate, and Obama has until January 20th to decide if that’s what he wants to do. Like Richard Nixon, Hillary doesn’t even need to be indicted in order to receive a blanket pardon for anything she did or may have done while serving as Secretary of State. The drawback is that accepting the pardon could be seen as an admission of guilt, and therefore tarnish her legacy. Yet there are many historical figures who have been pardoned who are still widely revered. This list includes almost every Confederate soldier and leader, as well as famous Radical Republican and Union General John C. Frémont. Obama and Hillary are skilled politicians who could spin the narrative that Tyrant-Elect Trump had forced Obama’s hand and made the pardon necessary. A presidential pardon makes federal prosecution impossible for the offense or time period cited by the pardon, although prosecution on the state-level is still possible. It is the legal equivalent of being washed in the Blood of the Lamb and having all your sins forgiven.
Hillary could flee the country. Hillary could seek asylum in a country that sees her as a friend, a bargaining chip, or a thorn in Trump’s side. This would be a particularly desperate option, as the Clintons would have to sell off or transfer assets offshore to keep them from being seized by the Trump administration.
Trump might decide to show mercy. The best time to make peace with one’s enemies is when you’re winning. Trump could leave Hillary alone to show progressives and other rivals that he isn’t such a bad guy after all. The courts tend to go easier on elderly defendants with health problems, and Trump might see it the same way.
Trump might be afraid of Democratic reprisals. US Presidents tend to leave their predecessors alone. They know that they won’t be President forever. Whatever the Commander in Chief does to his rivals, his rivals can do to him in four to eight years. There are so many laws on the books in this country that a clever prosecutor could find a reason to put almost anyone on trial. There is a mutual understanding within the powers that be: make whatever accusations you like but be very careful about filing charges or impeachment. Now that Trump himself is part of the Establishment, he might decide that it is wise to play by the same rules. But if Trump expects a permanent Republican majority, then he has no reason to follow the “rules”, just the law.
A special investigator might still come to the same conclusion as FBI Director James Comey. Whether you think Hillary is guilty or not, it still would take a lot of evidence to put her away. She was certainly careless with classified intel, but proving actual malice is another thing. Now that she isn’t running for President, she has even more options for her defense. If nothing else, she could act like she was mentally incompetent all this time.