Democrats Move To Cut Off Trump From Pardoning Himself Or His Family

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have introduced a resolution that would direct the Attorney General to turn over information and documents related to Trump’s use of pardons.

According to a statement from Rep. Lieu’s office, “The Lieu/Pascrell Resolution of Inquiry would ask the White House and direct the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide to the House any documents, recordings, memos, records, or other communications relating to any pardon Donald Trump has issued or has considered issuing, including those potentially involving Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and anyone else including Trump’s family and himself.”

Reps. Lieu and Pascrell said in a joint statement:

Demonstrating the seriousness of issuing pardons, the Justice Department uses an elaborate vetting process. Obtaining a pardon is extraordinarily difficult. And it should be. Yet, Donald Trump has dismissed any pretense of process. He has issued pardons to convicted felons who have never expressed contrition. Reports indicate he has openly discussed pardons for former contestants on The Apprentice, his aides, and his family members. On Twitter, he has bragged about holding the power to pardon himself. Democracy is not reality TV. Donald Trump is cheapening our bedrock justice institutions in ways that will make them more vulnerable to misuse and debasement. They reflect a President who sees his office as that of a king who stands above all laws.

“Despite these actions, congressional Republicans have refused to exercise a hair of oversight. House Judiciary Committee Democrats have repeatedly called for hearings on pardons and this week wrote to White House Counsel Don McGahn demanding information on the President’s pardon decisions. Our Resolution of Inquiry builds on these efforts. The Resolution would direct Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide the House with any records relating to any pardon Donald Trump has issued or has considered issuing. It will ensure that the American people learn more about Trump’s abuses of his sacred power before it’s too late.

By forcing Trump to turn over information about his pardons, Democrats would build a powerful deterrent

If Trump had to turn information over the House about his pardon process, it would virtually take the pardons for Trump, his family, and his associates off of the table. Trump could technically follow through with the pardons, but the House would have the evidence of the process, so if Trump tried to pardon himself, his daughter, or anyone else related to the Russia scandal, they would have the evidence for impeachment.

This resolution is available if Trump tries to abuse his pardon power right now, but it is also a warning shot for what is about to happen if Democrats win back the House in November. The out of control presidential behavior that has gone unchecked with Republicans in the majority will immediately be brought to an end, and if Democrats are in charge and pass this resolution, Trump’s dreams of pardoning himself will come to an end.

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