Schiff says Congress is investigating reports that Trump 'dangled' pardons

Schiff says Congress is investigating reports that Trump 'dangled' pardons
© Stefani Reynolds

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan House Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Schiff blasts Trump's 'un-American' order to intel agencies to cooperate with Barr probe MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said that Congress is looking into reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE "dangled" pardons in an effort to obstruct investigations. 

"Congress is investigating reports that Trump and his legal team privately dangled pardons to obstruct investigations, including ours," Schiff said in a statement on Twitter, noting that the White House has refused to rule out a presidential pardon for former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBanker charged for allegedly approving Manafort loans for Trump job House Democrat 'fixed' Trump's infographic about Mueller's investigation Michael Caputo eyes congressional bid MORE

"That Trump does so in the open is no less corrupt," Schiff added.

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Schiff did not offer specifics regarding to whom he thinks pardons may have been offered. 

Schiff, a frequent critic of Trump's, announced earlier this year that the Intelligence Committee would launch an investigation going beyond the ongoing probe of the alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia. He said a new probe would also scrutinize if Trump's decisions as president have been motivated by financial gain. 

Trump blasted Schiff as a "political hack" after the announcement in February, saying that the Democratic lawmaker had "no basis" to launch the new investigation. 

Tuesday's comments from Schiff come less than a week after Judge T.S. Ellis III sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison for a range of financial crimes. Manafort faces separate sentencing related to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerGraham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' House progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE's probe in a Washington, D.C., court this week. 

Trump said last week that he felt "very badly" for Manafort. But he noted that he had not talked about the possibility of a pardon with him.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday said that Trump would make a decision regarding a pardon for Manafort when he's "ready."

Democratic lawmakers have placed increased scrutiny on Trump since taking the majority in the House. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director MORE (D-N.Y.) opened an expansive probe earlier this month focusing on obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuses of power.