The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. has written a letter to President Obama asking he pardon former Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton before he leaves office.
Jackson is concerned that the incoming U.S. Attorney General, a post for which Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions has been picked but must still be confirmed, could mount an investigation into Clinton’s alleged criminal activities or even go so far as to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate.
Clinton found herself under fire for possible violations of the law during the presidential campaign, including the use of a private e-mail server to send and receive classified information while she was Secretary of State. An investigation by the FBI found Clinton had been ‘extremely careless’ with classified information but had broken no laws.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he does not plan to pursue an investigation into Clinton as he had promised to do during the campaign, but Jackson believes that doesn’t go far enough.
The letter to President Obama released Wednesday reads in part, “Despite her long and distinguished life in public service, Secretary Clinton has for decades been the victim of scurrilous and politically motivated attacks on her family, record and character. These deplorable assaults only intensified during the ugly presidential campaign of 2016 and now threaten to follow her for years to come, further dividing our bitterly divided nation.”
A full transcript of Jackson’s letter is below.
Clinton has reportedly not requested a presidential pardon, which is normally a pre-requisite for receiving one, but being pardoned without a request is not unprecedented. Former President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, President Richard Nixon, for crimes he committed in attempting to cover-up the Watergate scandal without a request to do so.
November 23, 2016
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
I respectfully ask that you strike a preemptive blow against injustice.
For the good of the country, please pardon Secretary Hillary Clinton.
There are those in their misplaced anger and poisoned spirit of retribution who want to use Secretary Clinton as a trophy in the name of (false) justice. But after all the allegations and hearings and testimony over the years nothing rose to a level of a crime punishable by law.
Although, President-elect Donald J. Trump apparently now says he no longer wants to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Secretary Clinton as he has repeatedly promised to do, many of his supporters continue to scream for her head. Chants of “lock her up” that echoed through the halls of Mr. Trump’s campaign rallies can still be heard.
I would not put it past the next Attorney General to pursue this absurdity.
But Mr. President you can shut it all down once and for all by pardoning Secretary Clinton. This outstanding American has endured enough.
She has been a trail blazer and a patriot all of her life. As you know so well, Mr. President, your former Secretary of State has spent her career working tirelessly to make America safer, stronger and better, starting with the precious foundation of our great nation – our children.
Despite her long and distinguished life in public service, Secretary Clinton has for decades been the victim of scurrilous and politically motivated attacks on her family, record and character. These deplorable assaults only intensified during the ugly presidential campaign of 2016 and now threaten to follow her for years to come, further dividing our bitterly divided nation.
The country was also bitterly divided in 1974 when President Gerald Ford stepped up to silence the partisan cries of anguish and anger by pardoning President Richard Nixon. While it was clear that President Nixon would have been impeached and convicted and driven from office had he not been pardoned, legally and technically he was never indicted, tried or convicted of anything. Yet, President Ford, in his wisdom and courage, was determined to stop the potential harm, restrain the hemorrhaging and heal the wound.
In our own highly partisan times in which we live, fairness and facts do not seem to matter. But I know they still matter to you, Mr. President. So, in that spirit, I ask that you also pardon the legions of former non-violent federal prisoners who have served their debt to society, yet continue to be denied the full rights and privileges of citizenship. That is an injustice that must be corrected.
As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.