House Dems Respond to Roger Stone Clemency with Ill-Fated Measures


House Democrats will try to restrict President Donald Trump’s clemency powers on Thursday as they advance legislation that would discourage pardons for friends and family and prevent presidents from pardoning themselves.

While the bills are unlikely to pass the GOP-led Senate, Democrats say a response is necessary after Trump used his clemency power to come to the aid of allies he believes have been mistreated by the justice system, including longtime confidant Roger Stone.

Trump this month commuted Stone’s prison sentence for crimes related to the Russia investigation.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the clemency for Stone an “act of staggering corruption.”

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on two bills and an amendment. One of the measures, by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California, would clarify that promising or providing a pardon in return for a “thing of value” violates bribery laws.

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It would also require that Congress receive all case evidence when a president pardons or commutes in cases involving himself or his family, or those that involve lying to Congress.

“The President has the constitutional authority to confer pardons and commutations, but that power is not unlimited, and was provided to remedy injustices, not to cover up for a president or shield him from potential criminal liability,” Schiff said.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin is proposing an amendment to Schiff’s bill to make clear that a president cannot pardon him or herself.

The second bill, by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, would suspend the statute of limitations for federal offenses committed by sitting presidents.

Should the president's pardon power be restricted?

The statue of limitations is a barrier to prosecuting presidents after they leave office.

Stone was sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the Russia investigation.

Trump commuted the sentence days before Stone was scheduled to begin it.

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