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 SchiffCourt filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments House passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said that Congress is looking into reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' 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 ManafortWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller Top Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller 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 MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) opened an expansive probe earlier this month focusing on obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuses of power.