Among those calling for President Barack Obama to pardon Hillary Clinton is veteran politician and agitator Jesse Jackson. Speaking at the University of Michigan, where he participated in a day-long celebration of his life, Jackson stopped short of saying that the former senator and secretary of state was guilty of any wrongdoing but did say that the president should prevent President-elect Donald Trump from making good on a campaign promise to lock her up.
The University of Michigan is the alma mater of Gerald Ford, the 38th American president, which has a school of public service named in his honor.
"It would be a monumental moral mistake to pursue the indictment of Hillary Clinton," said Jackson, a former evangelical Christian preacher. "President Ford said we don't need him for trophy. We need to move on. President Nixon wasn't convicted of a crime. He didn't apply for a pardon. (Ford) did it because he thought it would be best for the country. Hillary Clinton has not been tried, but there are those who want to drag her for the next three years. It will not stop until they find a reason to put her in jail. That would be a travesty." Ford famously pardoned Richard Nixon, who resigned after facing impeachment, for any crimes he may have committed. He said the pardon was in the best interests of the nation.
Jackson's visit to the campus included his appearance at an anti-Trump rally held by students at the prestigious institution. Student activists have been insistent that they have seen numerous instances of discrimination directed at Muslims and other minorities. .A large demonstration marched through a series of the university's buildings during Jackson’s speech. Jackson said that students "are growing up in an America that is in an identity crisis." Jackson added, "These demonstrations are born out of fear. Fear that the Klan will ride again. Fear that violence (against minorities) is coming back. In this election, voters voted for fear. I think hope will defeat hate, but it's a battle."
Jackson has blamed Donald Trump for creating an environment of fear. In an interview with The Detroit Free Press, Jackson said that Trump “set the field afire,” and “must be the one to put it out.” Trump saw an America that was a dry field and threw a lit match on it, Jackson said. It is up to Trump to take action, said Jackson.
Pardons from Obama
In August of this year, President Obama said that he will grant pardons “based on the merits, as opposed to political considerations.” So far, neither Clinton, nor the following: former CIA director David Petraeus, convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, or Pvt. Chelsea Manning, all of whom were accused or convicted of mishandling classified information, have applied to the Office of the Pardon Attorney for executive clemency.
Last week, White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed that the president has yet to alter his views about pardons since the election. “I wouldn’t speculate at this point about what impact that may have on hypothetical pardon requests that he receives. I'll just say that the guidance that President Obama shared with you is still operative.”
Speculation about a Clinton pardon, already rampant before the election, intensified after the election of rival Donald Trump as president. At one debate, Trump told Clinton it would be bad for her if he were elected "because you'd be in jail." Trump aides have refused to rule out a prosecution after Inauguration Day.
Neither a charge nor a conviction is necessary for a person to receive a pardon. Such was the case when Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, in 1974 after Congress approved two articles of impeachment against him.
Obama has indeed pardoned plenty of criminals recently. So far, Obama has pardoned more criminals that all of his recent predecessors combined as part of his initiative to show clemency for felons convicted of drug-related crimes.
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