Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) is accelerating his plan to introduce a constitutional amendment that would limit Trump’s ability to use presidential pardons.
In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Rep. Cohen said, “The indictment of Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman last year, accelerates the need to pass a Constitutional amendment limiting a president’s pardoning authority. I will be introducing the amendment on Tuesday. If adopted, the amendment would prohibit presidents from pardoning themselves, their families, members of their administrations and individuals who worked on their presidential campaigns. The indictment makes clear that some of Manafort’s activities took place while he was working on the Trump campaign so the need is clear and present.”
A constitutional amendment would not immediately solve the problem of Trump’s potential pardons, but it would shine a light on the possibility of Trump abusing his power. A constitutional amendment is an interesting way to remind Trump that the American people are watching and Democrats are ready to take action.
Trump floated a trial balloon when he pardoned Joe Arpaio. He did the Arpaio pardon with no cameras present, no notice, at a slow news time. If Trump tries to pardon people involved with the Russia scandal, he will likely follow the same gameplan.
Should Trump abuse his pardon power, Democrats are ready to act on the constitutional crisis that will follow.
Any Trump abuse of his pardon power will give Democrats a giant issue to use to take back Congress in 2018.