Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff is making Donald Trump’s already horrible day even worse by putting forth a bill, entitled the “Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act,” to prevent Trump from pardoning family members convicted of crimes. Schiff explained his legislative objective:
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’s view on pardon power presents a compelling nuance: The President should have limited pardon power. The bill itself would grant Congress the legal authority to review presidential pardons before they are fully enacted. This stopgap measure would impede the president from creating a safety net solely for family members if Mueller or the Southern District of New York finds one of them guilty for high crimes and misdemeanors.
More specifically, Schiff introduced this bill in response to a Wall Stree Journal report, where it was revealed that Michael Cohen’s personal attorney, Lanny Davis — who was previously one of Trump’s personal attorneys — said that Cohen, just last year, was seeking legal avenues for Trump to pardon him. Cohen knew that the legal trouble he was facing, due to his myriad of lies, could put him behind bars, for a long time.
Any question or possibility of Trump issuing a pardon to Cohen has, of course, gone out the window with not only Cohen’s cooperation with federal investigators but also the lawsuit that he filed in Manhattan today seeking damages from the Trump Organization for expenses and fines incurred by his legal (and illegal) work on behalf of the Organization.
Schiff has become a counterweight to Trump’s bloviating, despotic bravado, with cool, calculated legal maneuvering. Schiff is setting the rat trap — hopefully, the stinky rodent gets caught.
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