Rep. Adam Schiff, one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest opposers in Congress, introduced a bill Thursday aiming to ensure Trump can’t use his pardon power to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation.
“The President has a broad power to confer pardons, but not when they are designed to insulate himself, his family and his associates from criminal investigation. Such an abuse of the pardon power would amount to obstruction of justice and is not countenanced by the constitution,” Schiff said in a statement Thursday.
“The Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act creates a powerful check against deploying pardons in cases involving the president or his immediate family by ensuring that any evidence gathered in such an investigation is provided to Congress. The rule of law requires that a president use the pardon power only for reasons separate from his own criminal exposure.”
Presidents can use a pardon to rectify an injustice. They may not use it to obstruct justice.
I just introduced legislation to ensure that if the pardon power is abused to coverup crimes involving any President, his/her family or associates, Congress finds out: pic.twitter.com/RQ3HjWOZhi
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 7, 2019
Schiff’s bill outlines that if a pardon is issued for someone involved in an “investigation in which the President, or a relative of the President, is a target, subject, or witness,” Congress must be granted all documents and materials relating to the investigation.
The goal of the bill, as Schiff tweeted on Thursday, is to make sure Congress can see if a president attempted to “coverup crimes” involving them, their family, or other people with ties to the president.
The bill is an obvious response to the Special Counsel investigation examining Trump, his 2016 campaign, and his businesses, especially after Michael Cohen’s Lawyer Lanny Davis revealed this week that Cohen and Trump’s teams once discussed a possible pardon deal.
Schiff also mentioned in the background of the bill how a New York Times reported that Trump’s former attorney, John Dowd talked Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn about pardons. Both men have been indicted under the Special Counsel’s investigation.
The day Schiff revealed his bill, Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for bank and tax fraud charges. He still faces sentencing for other charges brought forth by the Special Counsel.