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Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not answer questions about the presidential power to issue pardons today while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: President Trump has the authority to pardon anyone (except in an impeachment conviction), whether or not they have already been charged with a crime — such as Paul Manafort or Rick Gates, and that power is absolute, extending to his family and members of his administration. Read more on the facts of presidential pardons.

What was said in an exchange between Rep. Deutch and Sessions:

  • "I'm not able to comment on" whether Trump could pardon Manafort or Gates before their trial or conviction. "I haven't researched that question."
  • What do you think the settled law is on that question? "I don't know"
  • When asked if Trump could pardon family members, including Donald Trump Jr. for his messages with WikiLeaks: "I would not be able to answer that at this moment."

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios