Apr 16, 2019

House Dems open investigation into Trump's alleged pardon offer to DHS chief

Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Kevin McAleenan. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday requested information following reports that President Trump told acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan that he would grant him a pardon if he broke immigration law by blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S.

Details: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the panel, and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the subcommittee chairman on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, told McAleenan to turn over information related to Trump’s alleged promise and "make himself" and other department officials available to testify before the committee.

The backdrop: Frustrated by the spike in migrant border crossings, Trump threatened to close the border if Mexico failed to restrict the flow of asylum seekers trying to come into the U.S.

  • CNN and the New York Times reported last week that Trump privately made the request to McAleenan — who was then the commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol — during a border visit in Calexico, Calif., earlier this month.

Trump denied the reports on Twitter, saying: "Of course this is not true. Mainstream Media is corrupt and getting worse, if that is possible, every day!"

"These allegations, if true, would represent a grave breach of duties of the president. Congress has an independent constitutional duty to provide oversight of the administration of government by the executive branch."
— Nadler and Cohen wrote

The Democrats also added that this follows what they called a "troubling pattern of conduct that has emerged over the past two years that appears to demonstrate that President Trump views the pardon power as a political tool, or even worse, as an expedient mechanism for circumventing the law or avoiding the consequences of his own conduct."

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Trump's new purge

Michael Atkinson, arrives in October for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government.

What they're saying: Conservative allies of the president have told him that these IGs are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in one day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 53 mins ago - Health