“Lock her up” may have been the chant at Donald Trump’s rallies, but the president-elect isn’t going to pursue locking up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” Trump told his rival at the second presidential debate. “Because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it.”
Trump further predicted “you’d be in jail” if he were to ascend to the Oval Office.
Trump hinted at a softer tone toward his former rival the weekend after the election, telling 60 Minutes that Clinton is “very strong and very smart,” but adding he “can’t regret” what was said about “Crooked Hillary” on the campaign trail. “I wish it were softer, I wish it were nicer, I wish maybe even it was more on policy, or whatever you want to say. But I will say that it really is something that I’m very proud of. I mean, it was a tremendous campaign.”
Asked if he would appoint a special prosecutor to try to put Clinton in jail, Trump said, “I’m going to think about it. I feel that I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on healthcare. I want to focus on the border and immigration and doing a really great immigration bill. We want to have a great immigration bill. And I want to focus on all of these other things that we’ve been talking about.”
“She did some bad things. I mean, she did some bad things. I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t want to hurt them. They’re good people. I don’t want to hurt them.”
Trump promised “a very, very good and definitive answer” the next time he did 60 Minutes.
This morning on MSNBC, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump won’t pursue locking her up out of a gesture toward helping Clinton “heal.”
“I think when the president-elect, who’s also the head of your party now, tells you before he’s even inaugurated he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges it sends a very strong message, tone, and content to the members,” Conway said. “And I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy. But if Donald Trump can help her heal then, perhaps, that’s a good thing.”
“I do — look, I think he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the president of the United States and things that sound like the campaign aren’t among them,” she added.
There wasn’t immediate comment from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has promised full-steam ahead with investigations into Clinton’s email server and the Clinton Foundation.
Breitbart, whose chairman Steve Bannon is the incoming White House senior advisor, was running the headline “Broken Promise” to herald the news.
UPDATE 3 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in response to the comments, “I can’t speak for the president-elect’s team or any sort of decisions or pronouncements that he’d like to make.”
“I’ve made clear that those kinds of investigative decisions and investigative conclusions should be conducted free of any sort of political interference and certainly should be conducted independent of any White House interference. And that’s the principle that we have protected,” Earnest said. “That is a principle that previous presidents have protected and we certainly believe that’s a principle that future presidents should protect.”
President Obama still has the option to preemptively pardon Clinton before he leaves office.