US & Canada

Trump team won't pursue charges against Hillary Clinton

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Media captionIn a debate, Mr Trump was cheered as he told Mrs Clinton: 'You'd be in jail' for emails

US President-elect Donald Trump will not pursue a further investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, to help her "heal", his spokeswoman has said.

His adviser said Mr Trump would not appoint a special prosecutor to look into the former Secretary of State, as he had pledged during campaigning.

Later, Mr Trump said a fresh inquiry was not off the table, but he didn't want to "hurt the Clintons".

The FBI cleared Mrs Clinton, but criticised her private email server.

Mr Trump had threatened during his campaign to "jail" Mrs Clinton, and at rallies his supporters often chanted: "Lock her up!"

Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC that "when the president-elect... tells you before he's even inaugurated he doesn't wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message - tone and content".

"And 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," she added.


Reality check: Jon Sopel, BBC News North America Editor

Remember crooked Hillary? The most corrupt politician ever, whose email scandal would be as big - if not bigger - than Watergate?

The butt of all those full-throated chants at Trump rallies, "lock her up, lock her up"?

And who could forget the memorable exchange in the second presidential debate, when Donald Trump promised to appoint a special prosecutor.

But now all that is gone, just some overheated campaign rhetoric that is being shelved, if you listen to his spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway and close confidante, Rudy Giuliani.

This is part reality check: there is so much to do in the first 100 days, do you want to be bogged down in something as controversial as this?

And it's partly that the job's been done - if the language during the campaign was about discrediting Hillary Clinton in the eyes of enough of the electorate to get Mr Trump elected, then - well - it's mission accomplished.


The right-wing Breitbart News Network, one of the Manhattan billionaire's most loyal supporters, swiftly denounced the climb-down as a "broken promise".

Democrats also attacked Mr Trump for even having suggested in the first place that he could pursue charges against Mrs Clinton.

"That's not how this works," US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted. "In our democracy, the President doesn't decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn't."

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Media captionHail Trump: White nationalists mark Trump win with Nazi salute

In other developments:

  • Mr Trump met New York Times executives after briefly cancelling the face-to-face, accusing the newspaper on Twitter of changing the terms of the meeting
  • His charitable foundation admitted it violated a ban on "self-dealing" by transferring income or assets to a "disqualified person", according to a 2015 tax filing
  • He promised on his first day in the White House in January he would scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, a cornerstone of President Obama's foreign policy
  • The UK ruled out replacing its ambassador in Washington after Mr Trump tweeted that Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage "would do a great job"

During the second presidential debate in October, Mr Trump pledged that if elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into Mrs Clinton's private email use, suggesting she would be in prison.

His threat raised questions about whether a President Trump might flex his political muscles over the Justice Department.

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Media captionTrump unveils his priorities for his first day in the White House

If Mr Trump had followed through on the pledge, it would have been the first time in recent history that a president ordered his attorney general to prosecute a political rival.

In a call to donors following her shock election defeat, Mrs Clinton blamed her loss on the FBI's last-minute intervention.

The law enforcement agency's director James Comey shook up the presidential race when he announced a new inquiry into her email server 11 days before the election, only to drop the matter two days before Americans voted.

The development revived an investigation that had been declared over in July, when Mr Comey said Mrs Clinton's handling of classified material was "extremely careless", but did not warrant criminal charges.

Mr Trump first signalled he might drop his plan to prosecute Mrs Clinton, in an interview with CBS following the election.

"I'm going to think about it," he told the US network, adding that he wanted to focus on jobs, healthcare and immigration.

He told the programme he did not want to "hurt" the Clintons because they are "good people".