Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Hillicon Valley — Hacking goes global Schiff calls on Amazon, Facebook to address spread of vaccine misinformation Spotlight turns to GOP's McCarthy in Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would alert Congress if President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race 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 CohenAndrew Cuomo and the death of shame Prosecutors considered charging Trump Organization CFO with perjury: report Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip 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.
Presidents can use a pardon to rectify an injustice. They may not use it to obstruct justice.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 7, 2019
I just introduced legislation to ensure that if the pardon power is abused to coverup crimes involving any President, his/her family or associates, Congress finds out: pic.twitter.com/RQ3HjWOZhi
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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation or other criminal probes, such as former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report Former Mueller prosecutor representing Donoghue in congressional probes: report 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.