Friday, November 18, 2016
TRUMP: As you are aware, we have just gone through a hard-fought, tough, and yes, sometimes nasty, presidential campaign (reporters force tepid smiles, grins, not being particularly amused). My opponent, Hillary Clinton was tough. Trust me, on that (sniff). She is a tough person. She doesn't quit. Believe me. I admire that.
You may also recall that, during the campaign, the FBI was investigating thousands and thousands of e-mails Secretary Clinton sent and received on a private server. There were concerns that, in the process, rules, regulations, standard procedures and, yes (sniff), laws, may have been violated. Indeed, the FBI Director concluded that she was "extremely careless" (sniff). Extremely. Although the Director concluded 110 e-mails contained classified information at the time they were sent or received by Secretary Clinton, he also concluded there was no evidence that she intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information.
Some believe Director Comey was wrong to grant immunity to critical players in the investigation, not to call a grand jury and not to recommend the pressing of charges. I, myself, expressed some of the very same criticisms, as a candidate. But now (sniff), I am President of this great country, that I love, believe me. Really. And I am now anxious to move forward, and make America great again. Mrs. Clinton has served this country as First Lady, a Senator and as Secretary of State (sniff). She is a good person. Really, I mean that. Good people. I think it is time that we, as a nation, move forward, and put this behind us. Recall how Gerald Ford pardoned that crook Richard Nixon? So the nation could move forward? Even though it was not a particularly popular decision at the time?
Today, I have instructed the Office of the Pardon Attorney, in the Department of Justice, to prepare a clemency warrant, granting a full, unconditional pardon to Hillary Clinton, for any crime(s) she may have committed from October 26, 1947, to yesterday, at noon. Again (sniff). it is my really big hope that this pardon will heal some of the wounds of the recent, hard-fought election and that the FBI and Department of Justice can now move forward, on to other, more pressing problems which face our nation, and must be addressed if I am going to succeed in making this nation great again. Thank you.
Two hours later, Mrs. Clinton calls a press conference. Surrounded by friends, supporters and members of the press, she steps up to a podium. The crowd goes wild. She smiles and waves all around.
The pardon power is an important constitutional power which should be used wisely, seriously, to right wrongs, to temper our system of justice with mercy and to recognize the importance of rehabilitation and second chances. But, amazingly, Donald wants to wield this incredible power in a childish manner, intent on dividing our nation, exxacerbating partisan politics and building walls. This is not America. It's just not. Make no mistake about it, this so-called pardon represents a very sad day in the history of American politics.
And let be clear: I have not asked - and do not ever intend to ask - Donald for a pardon, of any kind. Although he may require one himself - after his personal litigation tsunami is over (extended cackle, loud applause) - there is no reason for me to ask him for a pardon (reporters laugh and applaud). I have not been convicted for doing anything wrong. I have not even been charged or indicted with anything. Yes, the Republicans have been investigating / smearing me all of my entire life. I am used to that (everyone looks at each other, nods their head and applauds). I guess, when they realized they could never find anything to actually convict me for, they came up with the idea of a bogus pardon - without any of that "evidence" and "innocent until proven guilty" stuff the Constitution requires (laughter and applause).
I believe the American people are smart enough to know that this was not an act of mercy. Donald is not trying to heal anyone, or move anything forward, much less forgive me for an offense. He is simply abusing power like the tax-avoiding bully that he is. I have committed no crime. I have not asked for his so-called "mercy." And I never will. Thank you!
15 Minutes later, President Trump's press secretary appears at a podium at the White House:
Or, an alternative: Trump never again comments on the matter, Clinton beats up on him constantly and walks free.