House Judiciary Committee issues subpoena over Trump's alleged offer to pardon DHS officials

The panel requested all documents related to pardon promises for DHS officials as it weighs impeaching Trump

Published September 5, 2019 11:19AM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)
Donald Trump (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday issued a subpoena to the Department of Homeland Security for all documents related to President Donald Trump's alleged offer to pardon immigration officials who break the law in order to carry out his hardline immigration agenda.

The panel requested all communications and documents related the any alleged pardon offers as it weighs the prospect of impeaching the president. Trump has denied making any such offer, and his allies have reportedly claimed that his comments were jokes.

"The Framers did not envision the use of the presidential pardon power to encourage criminal acts at the president's direction," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. "As the committee continues its investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment, it is imperative that we are able to obtain information about ongoing presidential misconduct and abuses of power."

Nadler said his panel will hold hearings in the coming months related to the alleged dangling of pardons as it continues its sweeping investigation into possible obstruction of justice, public corruption and any additional abuses of power by the president.

The judiciary chairman added that the "troubling pattern of obstruction of justice would represent a continuation of the misconduct identified in the Mueller report."

Former special counsel Robert Mueller identified nearly one dozen episodes of possible obstruction of justice by Trump. He also detailed instances when Trump or his advisers suggested the president might pardon his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen in an effort to dissuade them from cooperating with federal law enforcement officials.

The news comes just days after the Washington Post reported that Trump told his aides that he would pardon them should they have to break laws to construct his long-promised "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border before the 2020 presidential election. A White House official did not deny that Trump had made such remarks, but noted that the president was joking.

Earlier this year, the New York Times and CNN reported that Trump told acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan in April that he would pardon him if he was sent to jail for denying entry to migrants seeking asylum.

Nadler requested that McAleenan turn over documents related to meetings between Trump and DHS officials that took place on March 21 and April 5, when the topic of pardons reportedly came up. He gave McAleenan a deadline of 10 a.m. EDT on Sept. 17.

By Shira Tarlo

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