Trump drops vow to pursue Clinton case, to ‘move forward’
NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had no intention of pressing for an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server or the financial operations of her family’s foundation, dropping the “lock her up” pledge that became a rallying cry for his campaign for the White House.
Trump, who branded his rival “Crooked Hillary” and said she would go to jail if he were president, said in an interview with reporters and editors at The New York Times that he was no longer interested in pursuing Clinton, in part because he wanted to heal the wounds of a divisive campaign.
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Trump said during the interview. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.”
His reversal on prosecuting Clinton was striking given the outsize role the issue played during the presidential campaign, in which her use of a private email server as secretary of state became a prominent issue.
Trump said he wanted to “move forward” from the subject. While he said that “we’ll have people that do things,” perhaps a reference to the FBI or Republicans who might continue to press for prosecutions in the email case or of the foundation, the president-elect made clear that he would not seek to pursue an investigation himself nor make it a priority after he assumes office.
During their second debate, Trump turned to Clinton and vowed, “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there’s never been so many lies, so much deception.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who leads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said last week on Fox News that his committee would continue to investigate the matter because “we’ve got to get to the truth.” Chaffetz’s office said Tuesday he was unavailable for comment about Trump’s statements.
Although the FBI’s email investigation is closed, the agency still has an open inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. The FBI and Justice Department conduct their criminal investigations largely independently from the White House.