© Greg Nash
President-elect Donald Trump says he hasn’t considered jailing Hillary Clinton since winning Tuesday’s election, a sign he might be backing off his threat to prosecute his opponent.
“It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve healthcare, jobs, border control, tax reform,” Trump said during a Friday interview with the Wall Street Journal.
It’s the first time Trump has directly addressed his threat since his victory on Election Day.
During his presidential campaign, Trump warned he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton.
He repeatedly called the FBI “rigged” for its decision not to recommend charges against the Democratic nominee for her use of a private email server as secretary of State.
When Clinton declared Trump unfit to oversee the criminal-justice system during their final debate, Trump famously shot back “because you’d be in jail.”
The call energized his supporters, who frequently chanted “lock her up” at his campaign rallies.
Trump also sounded a different note on Clinton during his victory speech, where he had gracious words for his vanquished opponent.
“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” he said.
Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who is now a senior adviser to his transition team, said Wednesday that Trump “did not discuss [a special prosecutor]” since his victory.
Republican members of Congress, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (Utah), have vowed to launch new probes into Clinton’s email setup now that the campaign is over.
One way of preventing a prosecution would be for President Obama to preemptively pardon Clinton for any crimes she may have committed.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest would not rule out that possibility this week, but indicated the president hopes Trump’s victory speech was a sign he won’t have to make such a move.
“We’ve got a long tradition in this country of people in power not using the criminal-justice system to exact political revenge,” Earnest said Wednesday. “In fact, we go to great lengths to insulate our criminal-justice system from partisan politics.”