Presidential Campaign

Pardon me: The Hillary scandals are just getting started

If you think you have scandal fatigue now, just wait. Should Hillary Clinton win the presidency on Nov. 8, you can expect an endless stream of Hillary scandals, even if President Obama issues a pre-emptive pardon for her before the election.

Yes, the president has the power to issue pardons before an offender has been charged with a crime. That precedent was established when the Supreme Court ruled in 1866 that a presidential pardon “extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.”

{mosads}Discussion of the Supreme Court ruling in Ex parte Garland sprouted up on Democrat-leaning websites and blogs at the end of the Bush 43 presidency, when the liberal establishment convinced itself that only by pardoning intelligence officials involved in extraordinary renditions and the enhanced interrogation of terrorists could they escape jail sentences. 

Of course, President George W. Bush didn’t need to pardon torturers, because U.S. intelligence officials had not committed torture. Rather, they had acted within a set of strict constitutional guidelines set out by then Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo (derisively referred to by Wikipedia as the “Torture Memos”).

But while a presidential pardon might avoid the sorry spectacle of a national security investigation by the FBI of an incoming president for her reckless mishandling of classified information while secretary of State, it would in no way deter Republicans in Congress from conducting their own investigations of Mrs. Clinton, up to and including impeachment proceedings. 

For example, we now know that four separate FBI field offices have been conducting a corruption investigation of the Clinton Foundation for well over a year.

Imagine for a moment how Congress would react if Obama were to pardon Mrs. Clinton not just for her email woes but for her past corruption, even for corruption not yet discovered? Do you really think Republicans, even if they were in the minority, would let that one go?

I recall the tenacity of Rep. Henry González, a long-time Democrat back-bencher from Texas who rose to become chairman of the House Banking Committee in 1989. González used all the wiles of his congressional office to prosecute President George H.W. Bush for arming Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to the first Gulf War.

González was so successful in his efforts that they contributed to Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory over an incumbent president who, at his peak, had a 90 percent approval rating.

Here are just a few of the Hillary scandals Congress could pursue:

The Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport, just as the FBI was getting ready to make public its conclusions on the Hillary Clinton private email server. Did Bill Clinton promise Lynch that Hillary, if elected president, would reappoint her as Attorney General?

Pay for play at the Clinton Foundation. I can imagine several committee chairmen exploring whether the actions of the Clinton Foundation violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). While a presidential pardon might clear Mrs. Clinton of RICO charges, it wouldn’t cover Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Doug Band, Huma Abedin, or a host of other Clinton Foundation officials who solicited donations from foreign corporations and foreign governments in exchange for official favors while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. 

Will they all go to the mat (or jail) to protect Mrs. Clinton and her scandal-plagued presidency?

Pay-to-play schemes that violated RICO could lead to multiple federal prosecutions to disgorge illicit profits through civil forfeiture proceedings. Imagine the Clinton Foundation having to repay the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and Qatar tens of millions of dollars for having essentially traded payoffs for U.S. government favors or for the promise of favors to come?

What about the Varkey Foundation and its GEMS education initiative, which paid Bill Clinton more than $56 million to serve as front man for a gigantic fund-raising scheme? “Upon funding and implementation, these commitments will have a total value of over $70 billion,” the foundation website boasts.

Are they waiting for Mrs. Clinton to be sworn into office before those “commitments” can be banked? Are donors expecting future favors from a Clinton administration in return for their money? I can’t imagine Congress not wanting to know answers to those questions.

Or what about contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative from the Abraaj Group, a UAE private equity company partly-owned by the family of Jaafar Dhia Jaafar, the mastermind of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program? Congressional investigators will want to know if those donations influenced a decision made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to award the Abraaj Group hundreds of millions of dollars in investment management contracts through the State Department’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Illegal coordination between Hillary’s presidential campaign, her super Pac, and the Democratic National Committee. Allegations of illegal collusion stemmed from undercover video shot by Project Veritas that captured DNC self-styled “undercover” operatives boasting of carrying out dirty tricks in coordination with the Clinton presidential campaign. Congress will want to hear testimony from the DNC operatives, and will undoubtedly demand that the DNC provide financial records detailing their relationship to these “consultants.”

The Iran nuclear deal. Congress will surely want to investigate Mrs. Clinton’s role in establishing a secret back-channel with Iran that led to the worst diplomatic deal in U.S. history, a deal that rewarded a terrorist and terror-sponsor regime with $150 billion and a sure path to nuclear weapons. 

Did Mrs. Clinton meet with Iranian officials or regime intermediaries before official talks began? Did she make promises to Clinton Foundation donors that she would “open up” Iran for U.S. business once she became president?

Oh, the scandals will be rich, and they will be unending. And they are all of the Clintons’ making. They will not only further weaken our hand in foreign relations, but will distract us from what needs to be done domestically to make this country great again.

Is that what you want, America?

Timmerman is a Donald Trump supporter. He was the 2012 Republican Congressional nominee for MD-8 and is the author of Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary & Obama Blamed for Benghazi, published by Post Hill Press.

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.
Tags 2016 presidential election Benghazi Bill Clinton Clinton emails Crooked Hillary Democratic Party Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Iran nuclear deal Pay to play Republican Party RICO Act United States WikiLeaks

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