President-elect Donald Trump “doesn’t wish to pursue charges” against Hillary Clinton in connection with her use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state, one of his senior advisers said Tuesday.
Trump had promised during the campaign that he would reopen the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to send and receive work-related emails while she was at the State Department, and her subsequent decision to delete roughly 30,000 emails she said were “personal” in nature.
He vowed during the second presidential debate in October to instruct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to “look into your situation.”
But in an interview with “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested he would back off from that campaign pledge.
“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” to fellow Republicans, she said, responding to a question about whether Republicans eager to go after Clinton would instead focus on legislative priorities.
In an interview with CBS earlier this month, Trump said he was still “thinking about” appointing a special prosecutor to pursue charges against Clinton because “she did some bad things,” but said he didn’t want to “hurt” the Clintons because “they’re good people.”
A source close to the Trump transition team told Morning Joe on Tuesday morning that Trump now felt Clinton had “been through enough” and would not be going after her in any official capacity over her email scandal.
Conway said Clinton “still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy,” but added that “if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing to do.”
Clinton handed over her server to the FBI last August as part of an investigation into whether she mishandled classified information by using a personal email address, rather than a government-issued account, for work-related correspondences.
FBI Director James Comey closed the investigation in July without recommending that criminal charges be brought against Clinton, while noting that she was “extremely careless” in her use of the private server. Clinton apologised for using the server but has insisted she did nothing illegal.
In an unexpected move, Comey reactivated the investigation into Clinton’s emails just 11 days before the presidential election after finding emails on disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop that were potentially relevant to the initial FBI investigation.
Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, was married to Weiner but separated from him in August after reports emerged that he’d been sexting with an underage girl.
Comey ultimately decided, two days before the election, to stand by his initial determination that Clinton should not be indicted for using the private server.
On the campaign trail, the chant of “lock her up” became a favourite among Trump’s supporters at raucous rallies across the country, where Trump would often call Clinton “crooked” and say that “people have been punished for far less than what she did” with her emails.
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