This is a question which people may start asking more frequently no matter who wins next week.

Law Professor J. Stephen Clark writes at The Hill:

Should Obama just pardon Hillary?

“Lock her up!” has become a perpetual chant at Donald Trump rallies. At the same time, aggressive elements within the FBI are apparently resisting career prosecutors, who have determined that evidence does not warrant new criminal investigations of Hillary Clinton. There are even disturbing hints at congressional pressure for the FBI to keep investigations going.

It does not take much clairvoyance to predict that Clinton’s most strident opponents may seek to extend the use criminal investigations as a political tactic to undermine her presidency if she wins the election next week. That prospect triggers a startling idea: Should President Barack Obama simply pardon Clinton if she wins the election?

The pardon power is typically used to extend mercy to individuals who have been convicted of crimes, but there is also a tradition of using the power as a tool of political reconciliation. President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon for Watergate crimes is probably the highest profile example. But there have been other instances.

As he left office, George Washington pardoned the men who had led the Whiskey Rebellion, an armed revolt against the federal government’s power to tax. President Andrew Johnson also issued thousands of pardons to ex-Confederates after the Civil War. A more modern example is President Jimmy Carter’s grant of amnesty for draft-evasion during the Vietnam War. The rationale has been to move forward and not remain mired in retrospective criminal proceedings.


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