The chair of the House Intelligence Committee just introduced a new bill aimed at preventing Trump from abusing his pardoning power

Rep. Adam SchiffJ. Scott Applewhite/AP Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring that President Donald Trump does not use his pardoning powers to obstruct justice. Under the Abuse of Pardon Prevention Act, if the president issues a pardon for a witness in the multiple probes…

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The chair of the House Intelligence Committee just introduced a new bill aimed at preventing Trump from abusing his pardoning power

adam schiffRep. Adam SchiffJ. Scott Applewhite/AP

  • Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring that President Donald Trump does not use his pardoning powers to obstruct justice.

  • Under the Abuse of Pardon Prevention Act, if the president issues a pardon for a witness in the multiple probes into his administration and businesses, Congress will be handed the investigative records. 
  • The information could then be made public, foiling any planned cover up, or used as a basis for impeachment. 
  • The move comes after Michael Cohen’s lawyer confirmed that his client’s former attorney had sounded out Trump’s legal team about the possibility of a pardon, which had been “dangled” before his client. 
  • Lawmakers in the House and Senate are probing whether Trump and his team offered pardons to dissuade witnesses from testifying in a bid to obstruct justice. 

Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring that President Donald Trump does not use his pardoning powers to obstruct justice.

In a statement, the California Democrat posted on Twitter Thursday, Schiff said that while 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 cover up crimes involving any President, his/her family or associates, Congress finds out,” Schiff tweeted.

Under the bill, if Trump pardons any witness charged in the multiple probes into his foreign ties, 2016 presidential campaign, or businesses, Congress would automatically be provided with their investigative records.

The move comes after Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, confirmed on Thursday that Cohen’s previous lawyer had sounded out a president’s team about the possibility of a pardon before his home and office were raided by the FBI in April 2017 in pursuit of evidence of hush money payouts. 

Davis said that his client had been “open” to the “dangling” of a possible pardon by Trump’s aides. 

The Washington Post reported last week that House and Senate committee lawmakers are investigating talks Cohen had about a pardon, which they believe could show the president attempted to use his pardoning power to obstruct justice and dissuade witnesses from testifying.

The House Judiciary Committee, which came under the control of the Democrats in January, has launched wide ranging probes into possible obstruction of justice by the White House, and has requested information from 81 individuals and entities.

The panel has requested documents from the FBI and Justice Department relating to possible pardons floated for Cohen, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations into Russian collusion is also probing whether the president sought to obstruct investigations and prevent former aides from being brought to justice.

If the bill passes, lawmakers would be able to release information from investigative records to the public, preventing a potential cover up, and even use it as grounds for impeaching the president for abusing the power.

Schiff first introduced the bill last year, but events in recent days have brought the issue back into the spotlight.

“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,” said Schiff.

“The rule of law requires that a president use the pardon power only for reasons separate from his own criminal exposure.”

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