Illinois Congressman Calls For Disclosure Of Presidential Pardons
By aaroncynic in News on Jul 21, 2017 5:03PM
Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi poses with supporters. Image via Facebook.
Late Thursday the Washington Post reported that some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers were discussing the reach of the President’s powers to pardon individuals, along with other ways to potentially limit or derail special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into the administration’s alleged ties to Russia.
Given that pardons from the President could disrupt Mueller’s investigation, Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is calling for full disclosure on all pardons from the White House.
“Our founders established a presidential power to pardon to protect the American people from their government, not for a president to protect himself or his associates from justice,” said Krishnamoorthi in a statement. “If President Trump were to pardon himself or his associates—especially in secret before any charges have even been brought—that would sabotage a federal investigation.”
In a letter to Donald F McGahn II, White House Counsel and Assistant to the President, Krishnamoorthi wrote that, though the Office of the Pardon Attorney makes their documents available, there would be no guarantee that all pardons from the President would be made public:
“The power of the pardon extends far beyond the individual who receives it. An individual with a secret pardon has a pre-emptive grant of immunity from prosecution and is under no obligation to make that fact public until charges are brought. This person would be unlikely to cooperate with an ongoing investigation or testify against co-conspirators in exchange for leniency.”
“I respectfully ask that you commit to making public all pardons issued by the President. Robert Mueller’s team - and all Americans - need to know who will be cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”
The administration dismissed the allegations that Trump might be looking to pardon himself or close advisors, with one advisor saying “This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself.” Josh Dowd, one of Trump’s attorney’s, called the idea “nonsense,” adding “the President’s lawyers are cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller on behalf of the President.”
The call for pardon disclosure comes two days after the House Oversight Committee passed an Amendment Krishnamoorthi proposed ordering a review of White House security clearance procedures. The amendment requires the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau to report to Congress within 90 days how Trump administration officials are applying for and receiving their security clearances.
According to Krishnamoorthi, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were all given security clearances after “omitting significant information about foreign contacts from their applications.”
“Mr. Kushner and other senior administration officials repeatedly failed to disclose their foreign contacts, including those with hostile powers,” said Krishnamoorthi in a statement. “It is essential that we determine whether this failure puts them or our nation at risk.”