President-elect Donald Trump’s senior adviser made waves on Tuesday morning by telling MSNBC interviewers that Trump is backing off his earlier vow to have his attorney general appoint a special prosecutor to examine Hillary Clinton’s alleged abuse of State Department emails or rumored “pay to play” meetings to help the Clinton Foundation.
Kellyanne Conway told “Morning Joe” hosts that Trump now wanted to “move beyond the issues of the campaign” and confirmed that he did not want his promised Clinton investigations executed.
“If Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing,” she said, a change that is likely to disappoint some of Trump’s voters who were highly motivated by a desire to see Clinton in jail.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has promised continued investigations of Clinton. (His staff did not immediately respond to requests for comment following the new Trump statement.)
In a separate but related matter, the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General has forwarded an internal complaint about alleged FBI bias against Clinton to the independent Office of Special Counsel, which examines possible Hatch Act violations.
Jonathan Hutson, a former investigative reporter and now a media consultant who earlier this month filed complaints with the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, provided Government Executive with a copy of a Nov. 15 letter from the FBI watchdog saying his original complaint had been forwarded to OSC’s Hatch Act unit.
His complaint, made during the final week of the contentious presidential campaign, prompted the Office of Professional Responsibility to begin an internal review of whether the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act program office timed the release of old documents and related Twitter descriptions to reflect negatively on Clinton and positively on Trump. That would be a violation of Justice Department guidance for bureau employees aimed at avoiding any actions that might influence an election.
In that instance, questions were raised about the FBI FOIA office’s release of 129 pages of documents pertaining to the 2001-2005 investigation of President Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose wife was a longtime Clinton donor.
The release came less than a week after Comey shook up the presidential race with his letter to lawmakers and FBI staff suggesting that newly uncovered emails in an unrelated probe might be “pertinent” to the bureau’s suspended investigation Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of State Department emails. Days later, Comey told members of Congress than in fact the emails were irrelevant to the investigation.
Per standard practice, the OSC declined to comment on a new complaint.