Top House Dem: Trump's power to pardon limited

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Trump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, argued in a Sunday interview that President Trump’s power to pardon is not unlimited, noting the president cannot pardon people in an effort to obstruct justice.

“I don’t think the president’s power is all as that absolute as people have been suggesting,” Schiff told ABC’s “This Week.”

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“The president cannot pardon people if it’s an effort to obstruct justice, if it’s an effort to prevent Bob Mueller, others, from learning about the president’s own conduct," he added, referencing special counsel Robert Mueller, who's investigating Russian election interference.

Schiff said Trump’s power to pardon has limits, a comment which comes after CNN reported Friday that the first charges in the probe have been authorized by a federal grand jury.

“If it were truly unlimited, it would have the effect of nullifying vast portions of the Constitution,” Schiff said of Trump’s power to pardon.

“The president could tell Justice Department officials, and other law enforcement, to violate the law and that if they did and it was ever brought up — they were brought up on charges — he would pardon them. And one principle of constitutional interpretation, is you don’t interpret one power as nullifying all the others,” he said.

— Updated 11:10 a.m.