Here’s What Will Happen if Hillary is Indicted or Must Step Down Over Email Case

Although she should be used to it by now after her decades of corrupt activities, Mrs. Clinton finds herself at the center of a federal investigation once again into her email scandal.  Having thought that she had managed to put that one behind her, she and her supporters have responded with typical fury at the revelation that new evidence has surfaced prompting FBI Director Comey to reopen the case.

Since whatever evidence has surfaced must be serious for Mr. Comey to take this action now, the question must be asked regarding what would happen if Mrs. Clinton were forced to step down or were indicted.

With the Democratic candidate once again the subject of a criminal investigation, it raises many questions as to what happens if she is indicted or relinquishes her candidacy before the election, or even after. The law is hazy in some of these situations, so let’s tackle them one by one.

Here's the first scenario:

1. If Clinton is indicted before the election

The FBI merely said that they are reopening their investigation to examine new emails that came to light. They have yet to even determine whether the emails are actually evidence of criminal activity, let alone decide whether or not to prosecute. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that an indictment would come before November 8. If it did, the indictment itself wouldn’t mean that Clinton could no longer run, as an indictment is only an accusation, not a conviction.

More likely, however, is that she would be pressured — by herself, the public, or the Democratic party — to give up her candidacy.

On to the next possibility.

2. If Clinton steps down before the election

Should Clinton relinquish her candidacy before the election, the Democratic National Committee has rules in place for what happens next. Article 2, Section 7 of the DNC Bylaws says that if there is a vacancy on the national ticket, a special meeting of the Committee “shall be held on the call of the Chairperson,” where they would choose a new candidate.

The third scenario is a very interesting one.

3. If Clinton wins the election and is indicted before the inauguration

Here’s where it starts getting tricky.

As mentioned earlier, an indictment is far different from a conviction. An indictment does not disqualify a person from being eligible for the presidency (neither does a conviction, technically, but being in jail would probably get in the way). Should Clinton be indicted after winning the election but before officially taking office, she could try to play beat-the-clock and hope to take office before her case concludes. Once a person is in office as President, it gets even more complicated, as we’ll see later. Should Clinton be indicted and convicted prior to her inauguration, and end up in jail, she may be deemed incapacitated, in which case Section 3 of the 20th Amendment kicks in and the Vice President-Elect, in this case Tim Kaine, would become President. (though that seems unlikely as the wheels of justice do not turn that fast)

Here's another case where Mr. Kaine would become president.

4. If Clinton wins the election and steps down before the inauguration

If Clinton becomes President-Elect and decides to step down before her inauguration, either due to being indicted or out of fear that an indictment may be imminent, it would be similar to the situation just described, and Kaine would become President. However in a situation where a candidate steps down after the general election, but before the Electoral College chooses the winner, federal law says the electors would be able to vote for whomever they want, although states may pass their own laws controlling this situation.

The final possibility examined would clearly result in unprecedented controversy.

5. If the investigation continues after the election and Clinton wins and is inaugurated before a decision is made. Could Clinton be indicted when she becomes President?

The law is unsettled when it comes to this situation, but most opinions tend to believe Clinton would luck out, due to the philosophy that Presidents — and only Presidents — are immune from prosecution while in office.

On top of all that, as LawNewz‘s Chris White noted, the Article II of the Constitution says the President “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” So theoretically, President Hillary Clinton could pardon herself.

Given Mrs. Clinton's well–known lust for power, don't rule that last one out, regardless of how bizarre it is and how convulsive the results would be.

Source:  Law Newz



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