Nevada U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto wants to ensure that President Donald Trump can not abuse the power of the presidential pardon.
The question of whether or not a president can pardon himself has been a topic of discussion ever since President Donald Trump announced in a tweet, “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.”
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
Cortez Masto, a Democrat, has teamed with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-Conn.), to introduce the “Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act” in an effort to provide “transparency and accountability in the pardon process in cases involving investigations of the President or his relatives.”
The legislation would direct the U.S. Attorney General to submit investigative materials to Congress no later than 30 days in situations where the president pardons someone in connection with an investigation where he or one of his family members is a target, subject, or witness.
The Justice Department would be required to provide all records of the investigation to the appropriate congressional committees.
“President Trump has repeatedly touted his ‘absolute power to pardon,’ even when considering self-serving pardons for close personal, business and campaign associates — many of whom are currently embroiled in federal investigations,” Cortez Masto said in a statement. “We need more transparency in the pardon process to ensure that justice isn’t being obstructed. Both Congress and the American people deserve access to detailed, objective information to understand whether a president is using the pardon power to protect himself or those loyal to him.”
The bill comes after Trump said he wouldn’t rule out pardoning his associates who have faced criminal charges, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Manafort was convicted of eight felonies and pleaded guilty to two more as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“This bill ensures transparency in the pardon process, codifying a strong deterrent against the president weaponizing the pardon power to protect himself or his allies,” said Blumenthal in a statement. “The pardon power isn’t a political weapon or a license to obstruct justice. And yet President Trump has repeatedly indicated that he may use the power of the pardon to protect his personal business and political associates.”
In addition to Sens. Cortez Masto and Blumenthal, Sens. Robert P. Casey (D-Penn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) also cosponsored the legislation.