Dem introduces bills to eliminate Electoral College, stop presidents from pardoning themselves

Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing Trump probes threaten to overshadow Democrats' agenda MORE (D-Tenn.), a vocal critic of President Trump, on Thursday introduced two bills to eliminate the Electoral College and prevent presidents from pardoning themselves or their family members.

Cohen introduced the constitutional amendments on the first night of the 116th Congress, both digs at Trump. 

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“Presidents should not pardon themselves, their families, their administration or campaign staff," Cohen said in a statement. "This constitutional amendment would expressly prohibit this and any future president, from abusing the pardon power.”

The amendments are unlikely to pass since they require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and then must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Cohen has previously predicted that Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDemocrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties Trump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE, and his son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Democrats set for Lone Star showdown Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE will both be indicted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE. He did not offer evidence for his assertion.

Mueller is reportedly working on the final report in the Russia probe, which has reportedly included an investigation of Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower. 

Trump in June of last year said he has the right to pardon himself, but insisted he has no reason to do so because he has not committed a crime. 

"As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” the president wrote in a tweet.

Some Democrats have also increasingly criticized the Electoral College since 2016, when Trump lost the popular vote to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, but won the presidency because he won the Electoral College. 

Trump won 304 electoral votes compared to 227 for Clinton. 

"In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonQueer Marine veteran launches House bid after incumbent California Rep. Susan Davis announces retirement Poll: Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Florida Former immigration judge fined, temporarily banned from federal service for promoting Clinton policies MORE won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College," Cohen said in his statement announcing the constitutional amendment. "Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office."

"More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators," he added. "It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President.”

In the 2000 presidential election, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush defeated Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreGinsburg calls proposal to eliminate Electoral College 'more theoretical than real' Difference between primaries and caucuses matters in this election Emma Thompson pens op-ed on climate change: 'Everything depends on what we do now' MORE in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by a little more than 500,000 votes.