Pelosi plans legislation to limit pardons, commutations after Roger Stone move

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions Overnight Health Care: Average daily COVID infections topped last summer's peak, CDC says | US reaches 70 percent vaccination goal a month after Biden's target | White House says CDC can't renew eviction ban Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban MORE (D-Calif.) is seeking to limit the president's pardon powers after President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE commuted the sentence of longtime adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCould Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? Has Trump beaten the system? Trump is on the ballot whether his name is there or not MORE on Friday.

"President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of top campaign advisor Roger Stone, who could directly implicate him in criminal misconduct, is an act of staggering corruption," Pelosi said in a statement Saturday.

She added, "Congress will take action to prevent this type of brazen wrongdoing. Legislation is needed to ensure that no President can pardon or commute the sentence of an individual who is engaged in a cover-up campaign to shield that President from criminal prosecution."


Stone, who acted as a campaign adviser for Trump during the 2016 election cycle, was convicted of multiple crimes, including witness tampering and lying to Congress. He openly lobbied Trump for clemency, as his three-year prison sentence was set to begin July 14.

Trump has long maintained that Stone, 67, was the victim of a political witch hunt. 

"Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

Stone was the last of a half-dozen Trump associates to be charged in connection with former 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 Russia investigation. While Mueller didn't find sufficient evidence to charge the president's campaign associates with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, he did conclude that the campaign welcomed Russia's election interference efforts.

Legislation limiting the president's ability to grant clemency has no chance of passing while the Republicans control the Senate. It's also not entirely clear if Congress has the constitutional authority to limit the president's pardon power. Under the Constitution, the president is able to execute a pardon except in cases of impeachment.

The yet-to-be-introduced bill will join legislation introduced by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffA new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign Officers offer harrowing accounts at first Jan. 6 committee hearing Live coverage: House panel holds first hearing on Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Calif.) in 2019 that would mandate greater transparency between the White House and Congress regarding pardons.

The proposed law would force the U.S. attorney general to give leadership of the relevant congressional committees “all materials of an investigation that were obtained by a United States Attorney, another Federal prosecutor, or an investigative authority of the Federal Government, relating to the offense for which the individual is so pardoned.”