Dem senator suggests Trump ‘sending a message to witnesses’ with pardons

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerState probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws Hillicon Valley: Trump fires Bolton as national security adviser | DOJ indicts hundreds over wire-transfer scam | CEOs push for federal privacy law | Lyft unveils new safety features after sexual assault allegations On The Money: Senate spending talks go off the rails | Trump officials vow to reform Fannie, Freddie if Congress doesn't act | Majority in poll see recession on the way MORE (D-Va.) suggested on Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE may be seeking to send a message to witnesses in the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia by issuing a flurry of pardons.

"The President’s ad hoc use of the pardon power is concerning enough," Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted.

"But the possibility that he may also be sending a message to witnesses in a criminal investigation into his campaign is extremely dangerous. In the United States of America, no one is above the law."


Warner's tweet came hours after Trump pardoned conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to making illegal campaign contributions.

The White House said in a statement on Thursday that Trump believed that D'Souza, a staunch ally of the president, had been the "victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws" and that he "accepted responsibility for his actions."

Trump also said on Thursday that he was considering a pardon for TV personality Martha Stewart and weighing commuting the sentence of former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Stewart was convicted in 2004 of lying to federal investigators about suspected securities fraud and served time in federal prison. 

Blagojevich is currently serving out a 14-year prison sentence for a number of corruption charges, including trying to sell former President Obama's vacant Senate seat after he was elected to the White House in 2008. 

Trump has already issued a number of pardons, including for former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Bush administration official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. 

Warner isn't the only Democratic lawmaker to suggest that Trump could try to use his pardon power in connection to the Russia investigation.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse chairman subpoenas acting Trump intel chief over whistleblower complaint The Hill's Morning Report - Can Trump save GOP in North Carolina special election? Giuliani tears into Democrats after House opens probe into whether he pressured Ukraine to target Biden MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, introduced a measure in April that seeks to give Congress oversight of any pardon that Trump may grant to a subject of the probe.

And after Trump pardoned Libby, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Calif.) accused the president of signaling to his political allies "that obstructing justice will be rewarded."