Trump won't pursue case against Clinton: Aide

President-elect Donald Trump stands outside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, on Nov 20, 2016.
President-elect Donald Trump stands outside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, on Nov 20, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK • Donald Trump will not follow through on his promise to appoint a special prosecutor to dig into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server as secretary of state, a top aide to the President-elect suggested yesterday.

Appearing on MSNBC, Ms Kellyanne Conway did not dispute the channel's report, citing an unidentified source, that Mr Trump would not pursue probes into Mrs Clinton's e-mail or foundation.

When the President-elect, as head of the 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 the members", Ms Conway said when asked if Mr Trump would call off Republican lawmakers.

Ms Conway, who managed Mr Trump's White House bid, said his focus had shifted.

"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 said.

"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 aren't among them."

It was a shift from the race, when crowds at Trump rallies chanted "lock her up". Mr Trump called Mrs Clinton's conduct "illegal" and said during a debate that she would "be in jail" if he became president.

FBI director James Comey in July said Mrs Clinton and her aides had been "extremely careless" in their handling of sensitive information on her server, but that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case.

The Department of Justice affirmed his conclusion. The issue exploded again in October when Mr Comey told lawmakers in a letter that he wanted to examine newly discovered e-mails that appeared related to the case, prompting Mr Trump to tell followers the FBI was preparing to "right the horrible mistake that they made".

Two days before the election, Mr Comey concluded in a second letter that the new messages did not alter his conclusion. After the Nov 8 vote, the White House declined to rule out issuing a pardon to protect Mrs Clinton from prosecution by the incoming administration. Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and prosecutor who may join the next administration, said President Barack Obama should not pardon Mrs Clinton and "should leave it to the system we all believe in".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Trump won't pursue case against Clinton: Aide'. Print Edition | Subscribe