Top Aide Implies Trump Won't Pursue Further Investigation Of Hillary Clinton
Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET with Trump comments
President-elect Donald Trump hasn't definitively said whether he'll try to prosecute former political rival Hillary Clinton, but top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway implied on Tuesday that the president-elect has no further plans to investigate Clinton. Later in the day, Trump said it was still on the table but that he didn't feel strongly about it.
Conway's comments came on MSNBC's Morning Joe, after the show cited an anonymous source to report that Trump wasn't planning to investigate Clinton.
Host Joe Scarborough asked whether Trump would encourage Republican lawmakers to "stay away" as well. Conway didn't contradict the show's reporting and said:
"I think when the president-elect, who's also the head of your party ... tells you before he's even inaugurated he doesn't wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content [to lawmakers]."
It's unclear what statements Conway was referencing when she spoke of Trump telling lawmakers he didn't want to push charges — whether she was responding to Morning Joe's reporting, citing a private exchange she knew about or referring to future remarks.
Later in the day, reporters at The New York Times tweeted that Trump said prosecuting Clinton is not off the table, but that he was looking to move forward. Journalists at the meeting report that Trump said he doesn't "feel very strongly" about the issue, and that Clinton's actions have been "looked at for so long, ad nauseam."
His comments were shared by Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Mike Grynbaum. You can read full coverage of the meeting here.
"I think it would be very very divisive for the country," Trump says about prosecuting the Clintons.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 22, 2016
Trump is pressed if he has definitively ruled out prosecuting Hillary Clinton. “It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about."— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) November 22, 2016
On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton, his Democratic rival for the presidency. His supporters frequently chanted "Lock her up" at rallies.
Since he won the election, Trump has not said definitively whether he will carry through on that threat — a pattern he continued at the Times on Tuesday.
"I'm going to think about it," Trump told Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes earlier this month. "I want to focus on all of these other things that we've been talking about."
"She did some bad things ... I don't want to hurt them ... they're good people," he went on to say. "And I will give you a very, very good and definitive answer the next time we do 60 Minutes together."
On Morning Joe, Conway also said:
"I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don't find her to be honest or trustworthy, but if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that's a good thing. Look, I think he's thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the president of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign are not among them."
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.