Donald Trump said in his victory speech after Saturday night’s primary and caucus voting that Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, should be legally prohibited from running for president, due to what he believes will be criminal revelations coming from an FBI investigation into her use of email when she was secretary of state.
But experts on the investigation say that Trump’s claim — as well as similar claims made by supporters of Clinton’s Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders — make no sense.
Following his victory in the Louisiana primary, as well as the Kentucky state Republican caucus, on Saturday night, Trump gave a speech in West Palm Beach, Florida, in which he attacked Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton, who should not be allowed to run because of what she did with the e-mails… Should not be allowed to run.”
Watch Trump’s speech Saturday in the video below.
Trump has made similar statements earlier in the campaign. As far back as October of 2015, the 69-year-old New York businessman and entertainer called for Clinton to be jailed.
A Republican who did what Clinton is accused of — using a personal email server rather than the official State Department server — “would be in jail 12 months ago,” Trump said in October. “I mean honestly, she shouldn’t be allowed to run, no she shouldn’t be I don’t think the Democrats are going to stop her from running, because the system is inherently unfair. It’s a very unfair system.”
This week, the United States Justice Department granted immunity from prosecution to Bryan Pagliano, the former Hillary Clinton aide who created her private email account, installing a server at her personal residence.
The grant of immunity was seen by Clinton’s critics in both parties as an indicator that Clinton herself would imminently face damaging, possibly criminal revelations that could even lead to an indictment — and her forced withdrawal from the presidential race.
Clinton spokesman says campaign is “pleased” that Bryan Pagliano is cooperating with Department of Justice investigation into email server
— Monica Alba (@AlbaMonica) March 3, 2016
“Bernie Sanders just won the presidency,” declared columnist H.A. Goodman, a Bernie Sanders backer and frequent Clinton critic, in the Huffington Post on Thursday.
“The testimony (free from any legal consequences) of the man who set up Clinton’s computer apparatus, secures Bernie Sanders’s front-runner status as the Democratic nominee. The DNC would be engaging in political suicide by entering November 8, 2016 with a nominee linked to a person just granted immunity from President Obama’s Justice Department.”
But according to Charles Tiefer, a former attorney for the U.S. House of Representatives Goodman’s breathless assertion — and Donald Trump’s — of Clinton’s impending withdrawal from the presidential race is “nonsense.”
“What does immunity represent? Does it mean that either Pagliano (or Clinton) are accused of offenses? Quite the opposite,” Tiefer wrote in Forbes Magazine.
“If the DOJ thought they had a case against Pagliano, they would not grant him immunity. They would prosecute that case, or else make a plea deal which could include the grant of immunity.”
Also, on Wednesday the New York Times reported that, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation, the FBI already interviewed Pagliano, and the session was described as “routine.”
The FBI also found that the private server was never attacked by foreign hackers who potentially could have accessed the information it contained, the Times reported, lending additional credence to Clinton’s own contention that she never put classified information at risk.
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Even if Clinton were found to have sent classified information, according to a report in the Washington Post Thursday, she would be unlikely to face criminal charges because “the line between what is classified and what is not is ‘not inherently obvious,’ and charging the former secretary of state would require prosecutors to prove that she knew what she was handling crossed that line.”
Additionally, legal experts told the Post, prosecutors in general are highly reluctant to pursue cases that could have a direct influence on elections, meaning that the Donald Trump claim that Hillary Clinton will “not be allowed to run” for president is in all likelihood meaningless.
[Photo By Joe Raedle/Getty Images]