Hillary and President Bill Clinton are secretly negotiating framework for a potential pardon from President Barack Obama that would spare Hillary from looming criminal indictments, according to Justice Department sources.
But there’s a catch, as there often is when it comes to legal proceedings and the Clinton family. Neil Eggleston, White House Counsel to the President who oversees and approves all presidential pardons and commutations, was previously employed by President Bill Clinton’s White House as a key lawyer to the former president and Hillary Clinton. Also, Eggleston has previously represented Cheryl Mills, a key Hillary attorney believed to be involved in Clinton’s clemency negotiations.
Even though she has not been charged yet with any crimes, the 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.
Sources said Obama green-lighted the Clinton talks with Eggleston prior to departing for his last presidential vacation in Hawaii. However, allowing the Clintons and their attorneys to negotiate directly with Eggleston smacks of a serious conflict of interest, whether or not the sides agree on acceptable clemency terms for the former secretary of state. In an corruption-free administration, Eggleston would step aside and recuse himself from such negotiations having served as a Clinton family lawyer during the most tumultuous period of Bill’s Clinton’s presidency, including his impeachment.
But the Obama administration is anything but corruption free.
Hillary Clinton is the target of at least one criminal FBI probe for mishandling classified and top secret emails and government secrets and possibly other criminal charges as the FBI is likewise investigating the Clinton Foundation for money laundering and pay-to-play involved crimes.
Clinton family legal consigliere David Kendall, who co-defended President Clinton with Eggleston during Whitewater and the Lewinsky affair, did not return requests for comment. According to sources, Kendall along with fellow Williams & Connolly attorneys Katherine Turner and Amy Saharia are involved in the current Hillary talks with the White House.
Eggleston did not return calls left at his White House office. If fact, his underlings in the White House Counsel office said he is no longer taking phone calls.
Hired for his expertise in criminal defense, Eggleston served in the White House as associate counsel to President Clinton from 1993 through 1994. Since then, Eggleston had become one of the most powerful defense attorneys in the Beltway prior to 2014 when he signed on to work as Obama’s counsel. Eggleston represented President Clinton during the Whitewater real estate corruption probes and his tangled affair with Monica Lewinsky. Hillary Clinton was previously a target of the Whitewater investigation as well and certainly benefited from Eggleston’s defense of her husband and co-target for illicit real estate deals in Arkansas.
In 2009 Eggleston also served as attorney for then-Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel during the pay-for-play scandal of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich involving the alleged sale of Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. After leaving the Clinton White House, Eggleston 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.
In 2001, Eggleston represented Mills, who was a board member of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library foundation. Ironically, 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 controversial figure herself since that investigation, 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.
Last week Obama granted clemency to 231 individuals, including numerous convicted drug dealers in what Eggleston trumpeted as “the most individual acts of clemency granted in a single day by any president in this nation’s history.” That sweeping move brought the shocking total of Obama’s commuted sentences to 1,176 individuals, including 395 life sentences. So far, Obama has also pardoned 148 people.
Last week Eggleston said his boss was not finished granting pardons before his last day in office Jan. 20th.