House Judiciary issues subpoena for information on Trump offer of pardons

The head of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for documents related to allegations that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE promised pardons to officials who carry out orders connected to construction of a wall at the southern border that could be illegal.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE (D-N.Y.) asked Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan in the subpoena to provide documents related to two meetings in March and April of this year between Trump and DHS officials where the topic of pardons reportedly came up, giving him a deadline of Sept. 17.

“The dangling of pardons by the President to encourage government officials to violate federal law would constitute another reported example of the President’s disregard for the rule of law," Nadler said in a statement.

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A spokesman for DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Washington Post in September reported that Trump had offered pardons to officials should they break the law to get border barriers built more quickly, reportedly telling officials when discussing the wall: "Don't worry, I'll pardon you." At the time, a White House official did not deny that Trump had made the remarks, but said he was joking. 

Nadler said the committee will examine the possible dangling of pardons as part of his panel's sprawling investigation into obstruction, public corruption and other abuses of power. The New York Democrat also linked the behavior to the president's conduct laid out in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski 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 Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE's investigation, which examined nearly a dozen episodes of possible obstruction by Trump.

"Such a troubling pattern of obstruction of justice would represent a continuation of the misconduct identified in the Mueller Report," Nadler's statement continued. “In the coming months the Committee intends to hold hearings and conduct additional oversight related to the issue of pardons as we move forward with our investigation into obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power by the President."

Under the subpoena, Democrats are asking DHS to provide documents and communications referring to presidential pardons to see whether there were "potential violations of federal law relating to the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws or the construction of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border." 

Nadler said this subpoena is part of Democrats' efforts to determine whether to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump.

Trump has stated that it is a top priority in his administration to build a roughly 500-mile wall along the southern border with Mexico, which was key campaign promise he repeatedly made during the 2016 presidential election. 

The subpoena also comes as the Judiciary committee's already sprawling probe is burgeoning to include a range of other issues that Nadler says will help Democrats determine whether to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump. 

The New York Democrat is also using the date of the 17th to set up a possible showdown with the Trump administration by setting the deadline of the McAleenan subpoena deadline to be the same day as several other subpoenas, including congressional testimonies from former campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt The Hill's 12:30 Report: Questions swirl around Trump whistleblower complaint MORE, former Trump officials Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter.

The congressional order comes as the White House has repeatedly blocked the committee from receiving testimony from current and former administration officials — something Democrats are seeking to challenge in court. 

Updated: 5:25 p.m.