Pascrell, Lieu Decry Trump Pardon Threats
Executive clemency to Manafort, others, would be historic abuse of power
Washington, DC, December 3, 2018
– Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) reacted to Donald Trump’s statement this week that the possibility of him issuing a pardon for his disgraced former campaign chairman Paul Manafort “was not off the table.”
“Donald Trump is once again floating possible abuse of his pardon power. By insinuating he would pardon his former campaign manager, Trump is endangering our democracy. If Trump uses his pardon power to immunize Manafort to protect himself and his family, it will be a declaration by Trump that he and his associates are above the law. In a fair and just society, no one is above the law. Trump is no stranger to abusing his pardon power, having haphazardly granted clemency to unrepentant felons and racist demagogues. But, his allusion to pardoning Paul Manafort yesterday is a red line and could amount to obstruction of justice. As Republicans have refused to assess one iota of Trump’s corruption, we’re looking forward to having a Democratic majority committed to conducting fair oversight into Trump’s abuses of power. Our democracy is counting on it.”
In August, Manafort was found guilty by a federal jury of eight counts of tax fraud. In September, he plead guilty in a separate federal case to charges of conspiracy and witness tampering. This week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleged that Manafort had violated his plea agreement and was leveling new criminal charges against Manafort. To date, former top Trump Corporation executive and Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, top Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, and Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopolous have all pled guilty to felonies in federal court.
Reps. Pascrell and Lieu have two of Congress’s most vocal voices calling for greater oversight of Donald Trump and of his use of the pardon power, publishing a joint op-ed in USA Today on the subject in April. Pascrell wrote another an op-ed on the subject in May. In June, Pascrell and Lieu introduced H.Res. 928, a Resolution of Inquiry directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide to the House of Representatives any documents, recordings, memos, records, or other communications relating to any pardon Donald Trump has issued or has considered issuing, including those potentially involving Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and anyone else including Trump’s family and himself. The resolution was bottled up from consideration by united Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.