Schiff introduces bill targeting Trump pardons

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify Mueller to give extended testimony after appearance postponed MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would alert Congress if President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE pardons an individual connected to an investigation in which he or a family member is involved.

Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, presented the Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act in an effort to prevent Trump and future presidents from abusing their pardon authority. While Schiff introduced the legislation last year, his new push comes amid reports that representatives for Trump's personal attorney, Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFeds unlikely to charge Trump Organization execs in campaign finance case: report Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE, may have spoken about a  pardon with attorneys for the president.


"The President has a broad power to confer pardons, but not when they are designed to insulate himself, his family and his associates from criminal investigation," Schiff said in a statement. "Such an abuse of the pardon power would amount to obstruction of justice and is not countenanced by the constitution."

If passed, the law would allow Congress to view evidence against an individual who receives a pardon from the president.

Lanny Davis, who currently represents Cohen, told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Cohen directed his then-attorney last summer “to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump.”

The Journal had previously reported that Cohen's former lawyer raised the possibility of a pardon with Giuliani and other Trump attorneys after an April FBI raid of Cohen's home and office.

Cohen testified last week that Trump is a "con man" and a "cheat," and alleged the president engaged in potentially criminal activity. He further testified that he "never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump."

Schiff and other lawmakers critical of the president have long warned Trump against issuing pardons for those caught up in 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 investigation or other criminal probes, such as former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTop Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller Trump, Mueller, the issue of 'guilt' and a do-nothing Congress MORE or former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for Trump, has previously said the president is unlikely to issue pardons during ongoing investigations.