COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said that if she becomes president, she would pardon former president Donald Trump for crimes related to his improper handling of classified documents, if Trump is ultimately convicted.
Trump pleaded not guilty in federal court in Miami on Tuesday to criminal allegations that he risked national security by mishandling classified documents and obstructed the government’s efforts to reclaim those documents earlier this year.
He is the first former president to be charged with federal crimes, now facing 37 counts connected with the removal, storage and concealment of sensitive government documents he took from the White House upon leaving office in 2021.
But Haley, a former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations said she’s in favor of granting Trump a presidential pardon if he’s convicted.
“When you look at a pardon, the issue is less about guilt, and more about what’s good for the country,” Haley said on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton show, a politics podcast.
“And I think it would be terrible for the country to have a former president in prison for years because of the documents case. That’s something you see in a third world country. I saw that at the United Nations, so I would be inclined in favor of a pardon,” she continued, adding that she thinks the issue is premature because Trump has yet to be convicted.
Federal prosecutors allege that Trump carelessly handled top secret documents that included details of sensitive nuclear programs, intelligence on foreign adversaries, Pentagon battle plans and other papers that detailed the country’s potential vulnerabilities to military attack, according to a 41-page indictment prosecutors unsealed last Friday.
Haley maintains that the U.S. Department of Justice harbors a double standard when it comes to investigating Democrats versus Republicans.
“I mean, you can’t have one standard for Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and then another standard for Republicans like Donald Trump,” Haley said.