Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway took to the airwaves on Tuesday morning to say that the president-elect wouldn’t pursue charges against former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I think when the President-elect, who’s also the head of your party, tells you before he’s even inaugurated that he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone, and content,” Conway told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
As a candidate, Trump had threatened to prosecute Clinton, but he also hinted he might back off. On Nov. 11, days after his surprise victory, Trump deflected a question over jailing Clinton from the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve health care, jobs, border control, tax reform,” he said.
Throughout the election campaign, a federal investigation into Clinton’s illegal use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state dogged her presidential bid. Trump made it a central issue in his campaign.
Squaring off against Clinton in a presidential debate in October, the real estate businessman said that “if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.” The comment drew the ire of legal experts across the political spectrum who warned against the dangers of executive overreach and the abuse of prosecutorial powers. Nevertheless, Trump pushed forward with calls for Clinton to serve jail time; chants of “lock her up” became a popular staple at his rallies.
In July, FBI Director James Comey concluded that “no charges were appropriate” in the months-long investigation of Clinton. Then, he closed the case again on Nov. 6 after the investigation was briefly reopened — days before the election.
At least one top Democratic lawmaker believes Trump had no authority to “lock her up” in the first place. “That’s not how this works. In our democracy, the president doesn’t decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in response to Conway’s comments.
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