Schiff pushes bill to review any Trump pardons in Russia probe

Schiff pushes bill to review any Trump pardons in Russia probe
© Greg Nash

California Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLone wolf actors post greatest domestic terror threat, FBI, DHS conclude State calls for Azerbaijan to pull back forces from Armenia border DNC plans to project image calling GOP 'party of Trump' on his DC hotel after Cheney vote MORE (D) has introduced a bill that would give Congress oversight of any pardon that President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE grants to a subject of the Russia investigation or to a member of his family.

In the event that Trump pardons someone connected to the Russia prbe, Schiff's bill, known as the Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act, would require the Justice Department to turn the case files for the investigation over to the House Judiciary Committee.

If the case file contains classified information, it would also be supplied to the House Intelligence Committee.


Schiff told USA Today that the impetus of his bill was Trump's decision last week to pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, an aide to the Bush administration convicted of lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of the identity of a CIA agent.

"It would allow Congress to determine whether a pardon is an effort to obstruct justice," Schiff told the newspaper. "I think it would have the effect of discouraging a pardon used for the purpose of shielding the president or his family from prosecution."

In the release, Schiff called the possibility of Trump granting a pardon to subjects of the Russia investigation "unsettling." Several former members of Trump's campaign, including former chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThere was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder Treasury: Manafort associate passed 'sensitive' campaign data to Russian intelligence Hunter Biden blasts Trump in new book: 'A vile man with a vile mission' MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, have been caught up in charges amid the investigation.

"There are unsettling indications that President Trump could use the expansive pardon power granted by the Constitution as an instrument to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation and other investigations into his business, family or his associates," Schiff writes.

"At a time of constitutional peril, it is incumbent on the Congress to stand up for the rule of law by creating a strong disincentive to the President issuing pardons to protect himself and obstruct ongoing investigations.”

Trump last week issued the pardon of Libby, whom he said was treated "unfairly."

"I don’t know Mr. Libby," Trump said in a statement. "But for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life."