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Pascrell, Lieu Sound Alarm on Trump Pardon Abuses

Paterson, August 30, 2019

U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) today reacted to a report in the Washington Post which posited that Donald Trump had assured aides who broke the law to accelerate construction of Trump’s illegal border wall that they would receive presidential pardons.

“Last year, we warned that Donald Trump’s exclusive use of the sacred pardon power to shield unrepentant felons, racists, corrupt crooks, and as a weapon to protect his own family represented perhaps Trump’s most dangerous abuse of power precisely because the pardon power is unfettered and cannot be reviewed by Congress or the courts,” said Reps. Pascrell and Lieu. “Offering pardons to absolve aides breaking the law at the chief executive’s behest would be clear obstruction of justice and an escalating of already unprecedented abuse. If true, this behavior, by itself, should be considered an impeachable offense. But there is no question Trump’s pardon abuses, along with other rampant malfeasance, compel the opening of an impeachment inquiry of this President by the House.”

In June 2018, Pascrell and Lieu co-authored an op-ed on the history of the pardon power and the danger represented by Trump’s abuses of it which appeared in USA Today. In the 115th Congress, Reps. Pascrell and Lieu offered H.Res. 928, which would have directed 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. Resolutions of Inquiry are one of the methods used by the House to obtain information from the executive branch. The then-Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee buried the resolution on a party-line vote.

Rep. Pascrell has been one of Congress’s most vocal voices calling for greater oversight of Donald Trump and of his use of the pardon power, publishing another op-ed on the subject. Rep. Pascrell has also introduced two Resolutions of Inquiry seeking information on Trump’s personal and business tax returns and other financial information that has remained hidden from public scrutiny.

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