Jul 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Nadler to present bills limiting presidential pardon powers

Rep. Jerrold Nadler on July 9.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler on July 9. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nader (D-N.Y.) announced in a statement on Friday that the committee will consider two bills next week that would curtail presidential pardon and commutation powers.

Why it matters: The bills come just one week after President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, who faced 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

The first bill, the Abuse of the Pardon Power Prevention Act, would allow Justice Department investigators to give Congress materials related to crimes for which the president is pardoning or the sentence a president is commuting.

  • The second, the No President is Above the Law Act, would "pause the clock" on the statute of limitations for any crimes a president may have committed while in office, Nadler noted.

What he's saying: “President Trump and his friend Roger Stone did what they said they would do," Nadler wrote. "Stone misled federal investigators, intimidated witnesses, and was convicted for obstruction of justice — but would not testify to the President’s wrongdoing."

  • "In exchange, President Trump made sure that Stone will never spend a day in prison. This quid pro quo is unacceptable. Congress must act."
  • “These are commonsense, good government reforms made necessary by this President’s conduct but applicable to anyone who may hold the office in the future.  In this country, no one is above the law — not President Trump, and not presidents to come.”

The big picture: Republican Judiciary Committee members who supported Stone's commutation will likely push back against the bills.

  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, supported the commutation last week on Twitter, saying "Roger Stone’s prosecution by overzealous Special Counsel prosecutors was an outgrowth of the Obama-Biden misconduct."

Go deeper: Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

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