Dem proposes constitutional amendment to limit Trump’s pardon power
A House Democrat plans to propose an amendment to the Constitution that would limit presidential pardoning authority in the wake of two Trump campaign aides facing indictments, and a third who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators, in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Under Rep. Steve Cohen’s (Tenn.) proposed constitutional amendment, presidents would be prohibited from pardoning themselves, their families, members of their administrations or people who worked on their presidential campaigns.
Cohen plans to introduce the amendment on Tuesday when the House returns to session.
“The indictment of Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman last year, accelerates the need to pass a Constitutional amendment limiting a president’s pardoning authority,” Cohen said in a statement on Monday. “The indictment makes clear that some of Manafort’s activities took place while he was working on the Trump campaign so the need is clear and present.”
Manafort is being charged with 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, in the first indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The indictment includes Manafort’s former business partner, Richard Gates, who also worked on the Trump campaign and later at the pro-Trump group America First Policies.
Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman from March until August of 2016.
The charges allege that Manafort and Gates were paid tens of millions of dollars for work on behalf of a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine and then laundered the payments to hide them from U.S. authorities.
Mueller’s team also announced Monday that former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about conversations with a Russian professor who claimed to have thousands of emails with “dirt” on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Cohen previously said in August that he would introduce articles of impeachment against Trump over his equivocating response to the violence stemming from a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va.
As of late October, Cohen has not yet filed articles of impeachment.
Another Democrat agitating for Trump’s impeachment, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), proposed an amendment to the Constitution to prevent the president from issuing a self-pardon in July.
Cohen has signed on as a cosponsor of Green’s proposal, as have Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Seth Moulton (Mass.).