The biggest rumor circulating through Washington during the presidential transition period is whether President Obama will pardon Hillary Clinton before he leaves office January 20th. Are Hillary and former President Bill Clinton secretly negotiating the framework for such a deal that would spare Hillary from looming criminal indictments.
The key individual for any such deal is Neil Eggleston, White House Counsel to the President who oversees and approves all presidential pardons and commutations. He just happened to previously have been employed by then President Bill Clinton as a key lawyer to the former president and Hillary Clinton.
This cozy arrangement is the sort of Washington insider establishment dealings President-elect Donald Trump railed against in his successful bid for the presidency. To add to the political intrigue, Eggleston previously represented Cheryl Mills, a key Hillary attorney believed to be involved in Clinton’s clemency negotiations.
An Obama pardon would shield Hillary from any criminal charges she could face under a Donald Trump administration and a Sen. Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department. She is presently not charged with any criminal act.
The buzz from sources inside the Department of Justice say Obama green-lighted the Clinton talks with Eggleston prior to departing for his last presidential vacation in Hawaii. This could be construed as a conflict of interest with legacy-minded Obama who needs to only look at President Gerald Ford’s pardon of disgraced President Richard Nixon to envision the public outcry of such a bold act.
Hillary Clinton is still a looming target in at least one criminal FBI probe for mishandling classified and top secret emails and government secrets and possibly other criminal charges. The FBI is likewise investigating the Clinton Foundation for money laundering and pay-to-play involved crimes. Is this something that will be seen as further proof of liberal cronyism at the highest level? Or will liberals just sweep it under the carpet because it is one of their own?
Clinton family legal consigliere, which brings to mind “The Godfather,” David Kendall, a veteran “get out of jail free” lawyer who co-defended President Clinton with Eggleston during Whitewater and the Lewinsky affair, has remained mum with the media. Kendall’s surrogates said he is no longer taking phone calls.
Eggleston has become one of the most powerful defense attorneys in the Beltway. He has defended such notorious clients as the pay-for-play scandal of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich involving the alleged sale of Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. He has also represented members of Clinton’s administration who were accused of criminal wrongdoing but never formally charged, including transportation secretary, Federico Peña and his labor secretary, Alexis Herman.
Returning to one of Hillary’s closest aides during her tenure as secretary of state and the private email server scandal, Cheryl Mills was a board member of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library foundation. Lo and behold, Eggleston served as Mills’ lawyer during a congressional investigation into Eric Holder and President Clinton’s eleventh-hour controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
Mills, a lawyer herself, was Hillary’s chief counsel during her secretary of state tenure. Mills has also represented her former State Department boss during the FBI’s investigation and interrogation of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Mills at the time was also a witness and possible suspect in the case.
It all boils down to who you know at the level Hillary has attained in her years as First Lady, US Senator and secretary of state. If Obama chooses to ignore Hillary’s desperate need for a pardon, the new and unforgiving Trump Justice Department will not be tolerant of her past indiscretions.
So far, Obama has also pardoned 148 people. Will Barack Obama feel it is his duty to save Hillary from the next administration? Last week Eggleston said his boss was not finished granting pardons before his last day in office Jan. 20th. Hillary certainly hopes so.