Pelosi Says Lawmakers Will Unveil Legislation to Curb the President's Clemency Powers


Days after President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of former campaign aide Roger Stone, lawmakers are moving to limit his power to issue pardons or commute sentences. 

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addressed Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s sentence and her goal to issue a curb his ability to limit his clemency powers. 

“We will have legislation that says a president cannot commute or pardon or offer clemency to anybody who commits a crime … is convicted of a crime that affects the president’s behavior and his culpability,” Pelosi said.

She added, “Again, people should know, this isn’t just about lying to Congress — that means lying to the American people — witness tampering and the rest, it’s about our national security.”

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Pelosi was asked if Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s prison sentence —which she said was an act of “staggering corruption”— is an impeachable offense. 

She responded, “It’s staggering corruption, but I think it’s important for people also to know that it’s a threat to our national security.”

In February, Stone was sentenced to three years and fourth months in prison after he was convicted on charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.

However, days before he was due to report to prison, Trump said he would commute Stone’s sentence, as IJR reported

In a statement, a White House spokesperson said, “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly … He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

In response to the commutation of Stone’s sentence, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller penned an op-ed to defend the investigation and prosecution of Stone — and note that his criminal conviction was not expunged.

“I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office,” Mueller wrote.

He added, “The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

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Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s sentence has drawn bipartisan criticism from Congressional lawmakers. 

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said, “The president clearly has the legal and constitutional authority to grant clemency for federal crimes.”

“However, this authority should be used judiciously and very rarely by any president,” he added.

And Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tweeted, “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said, “I think anyone who cares about the rule of law in this country is nauseated by the fact that the president has commuted the sentence of someone who willfully lied to Congress, covered up for the president, intimidated witnesses, obstructed the investigation.”

“It shouldn’t matter whether you’re Democrat or Republican. This should be offensive to you if you care about the rule of law,” he added.

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