Schiff introduces bill targeting Trump pardons

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump says lawmakers should censure Schiff Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public The comments and actions of Schiff demand his formal censure MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would alert Congress if President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff 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 CohenSchiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public On The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Tax and loan documents for Trump properties showed inconsistencies: report 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 MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski 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 MORE's investigation or other criminal probes, such as former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCuomo signs measure allowing New York to press charges despite presidential pardon Rand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter He who must not be named: How Hunter Biden became a conversation-stopper 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.