Dem senator suggests Trump ‘sending a message to witnesses’ with pardons

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerRussians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit Top Senate Dem: Trump administration's lack of focus on election security an 'embarrassment' Dem senator: We need other Americans in the room with Trump, Putin MORE (D-Va.) suggested on Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE may be seeking to send a message to witnesses in the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia by issuing a flurry of pardons.

"The President’s ad hoc use of the pardon power is concerning enough," Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted.

"But the possibility that he may also be sending a message to witnesses in a criminal investigation into his campaign is extremely dangerous. In the United States of America, no one is above the law."


Warner's tweet came hours after Trump pardoned conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to making illegal campaign contributions.

The White House said in a statement on Thursday that Trump believed that D'Souza, a staunch ally of the president, had been the "victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws" and that he "accepted responsibility for his actions."

Trump also said on Thursday that he was considering a pardon for TV personality Martha Stewart and weighing commuting the sentence of former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Stewart was convicted in 2004 of lying to federal investigators about suspected securities fraud and served time in federal prison. 

Blagojevich is currently serving out a 14-year prison sentence for a number of corruption charges, including trying to sell former President Obama's vacant Senate seat after he was elected to the White House in 2008. 

Trump has already issued a number of pardons, including for former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Bush administration official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. 

Warner isn't the only Democratic lawmaker to suggest that Trump could try to use his pardon power in connection to the Russia investigation.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffRussians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit Schiff expects Trump to take 'disastrous approach' on meddling in meeting with Putin Sunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, introduced a measure in April that seeks to give Congress oversight of any pardon that Trump may grant to a subject of the probe.

And after Trump pardoned Libby, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTop Democrats request meeting with intel chief over sharing of classified info Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet 'Our Cartoon President' takes on Mueller probe, NATO and Melania in second season MORE (D-Calif.) accused the president of signaling to his political allies "that obstructing justice will be rewarded."