Democrats in Congress want to prevent Trump from pardoning himself

Rep. Jamie Raskin introduced an amendment to the Democratic bill that prohibits the US president from pardoning himself.

The President of the United States has the constitutional right to pardon and reduce sentences. President Donald Trump has outraged Democrats by lifting a prison sentence for his longtime friend and informal advisor, Roger Stone.

“The pardon that the president gives to himself is null and void, and it does not deprive the courts of jurisdiction or give the president any immunity from investigation or prosecution,” Raskin’s amendment says.
“It’s important for Congress to make it clear right now: no president from any party can use his pardon powers to pardon himself or reduce his prison term,” Ruskin said in a written statement.

The amendment was introduced to the bill, which envisages subordinating the presidential pardon to the norms of the law on bribery. The bill also requires the Justice Department to inform Congress about all the details of the pardons, and in particular whether the pardon is related to the president’s friends and relatives.

Even if the bill is passed by Congress and overcomes the threat of a presidential veto, it is likely to be challenged in court as unconstitutional. The US Constitution says the president is “granted the right to defer sentences and pardons for crimes against the United States, except in impeachment cases.” There are no more restrictions on the right to pardon in the Basic Law.

Democrats conducted a number of investigations against Trump and impeached him in 2019 in the House of Representatives, but Trump’s Senate acquitted.

In the past, no president has tried to pardon himself. However, President Richard Nixon, having resigned over the Watergate scandal, took advantage of the pardon of his successor, Gerald Ford. During that scandal, the US Department of Justice officially announced that, in his opinion, the president could not pardon himself, but this opinion has not yet been confirmed by the Supreme Court, which plays the role of arbiter in constitutional matters.

Trump canceled prison and probation, as well as a fine for his friend Roger Stone, but did not remove his criminal record.

Stone was previously sentenced to more than three years in prison for obstructing a trial as part of a “Russian investigation” by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. The court found it proven that Stone obstructed the trial and lied to Congress to protect his friend Trump. Trump has repeatedly called Stone’s verdict too harsh in the past.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller confirmed the accusations against Russia of “interference in the elections” (Moscow denies this), but could not substantiate the assumptions about Trump’s “collusion” with Moscow, the existence of which is denied not only in the Kremlin, but also in the White House.