Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Tuesday that the President-elect currently does not plan to pursue investigations against Hillary Clinton, a promise he made often on the campaign trail that, if carried out, would violate the Justice Department’s independence.
Conway confirmed that Trump “doesn’t wish to pursue these charges,” and said that his decision “sends a very strong message, tone and content,” to Republican lawmakers who might otherwise continue to pursue investigations into Clinton.
“I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy,” she said. “But if Donald Trump can help her heal then perhaps that’s a good thing.”
Conway said that Trump is “thinking of many different things” during the transition process, but “things that sound like the campaign aren’t among them.”
Chants of “lock her up!” became a mainstay at rallies Trump held during his presidential campaign, from the Republican National Convention in July to the President-elect’s election night event in New York. During the second presidential debate in October, Trump said that he would “get a special prosecutor” to investigate Clinton if he won the election, and that she would ultimately end up “in jail.”
The president of the United States does not have the jurisdiction to appoint a special prosecutor; that’s the purview of the U.S. attorney general. Any investigation undertaken as a result of such an appointment would be independent and free from the president’s influence and agenda.
Republican officials were quick to jump on Trump’s invective anyway. Following the second debate, House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) promised “years” of investigations into Clinton’s record if she was elected. Even after Trump’s upset victory in the election, Chaffetz did not back down, saying it would be “totally remiss” to dismiss investigations as a result of Clinton’s loss.