JACKSON, MISS– With more information from the Hillary Clinton email investigation emerging daily, many voters have wondered: “What would happen if an indictment were to occur after the election if Clinton is president?”
Short answer: Not much.
“I think under the law, she could not be prosecuted while being president,” said Mike Hurst, a Mississippi attorney and former U.S. attorney.
Hurst added that while a candidate has never entered the White House with so much ongoing questions from the start, there is some precedence with a similar situation.
“President Nixon was named as an unindicted co-conspirator and President Ford pardoned him,” Hurst said.
The Watergate scandal, in 1972, eventually brought down President Richard Nixon after five burglars were discovered in the Democratic National Convention office located in the Watergate building in Washington D.C.
What happened after Nixon’s re-election is the closest example to what could possibly happen if more were to emerge from the Clinton email investigation.
But as President, there are certain powers and privileges that could make a difference in this case.
While in office, the President is allotted certain exemptions. Along with being free from prosecution as President, the email investigation dating back to before the election cycle would not make much of a difference in who holds the presidential seat.
“I don’t believe you could impeach her for the email scandal,” said Hurst. “Because the email scandal happened before she was president.
Since there is no grounds for impeachment and prosecution cannot take place while in office, the case would be at a stand still.
“She’s home free until her term ends,” said Hurst.
Depending on election and re-election, that means the case could be on hold if Clinton were re-elected.
The presidential position also holds the power of pardon.
“There doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on her pardoning herself (if she were to become president),” said Hurst. “But I don’t believe she would pardon herself, but she would absolutely be pardoned by Tim Kaine.”
Tim Kaine, as Vice President, would step up as President if Clinton were to resign. He would then hold the power to pardon Clinton, just as Ford was able to pardon Nixon.