The biggest threat: A President permanently excusing wrongdoings

Team Warren
Feb 27, 2019 · 2 min read

By Elizabeth Warren

Look, I get it: It’s really hard to keep track of all the latest twists and turns in the investigations around Donald Trump.

But here’s the big picture from today’s news: Under oath and in an open session of Congress, one of Donald Trump’s most trusted advisors implicated him in criminal activity while he’s been in the White House.

And this is on top of the 34 individuals and 3 companies that have been indicted, convicted, or pled guilty — including Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and former National Security Advisor.

Our criminal justice system is hanging on and doing its job — the truth is coming out — despite unprecedented, relentless, and potentially illegal pressure from Donald Trump and his associates in and out of government.

But here’s the biggest threat right now: Donald Trump, or the next President, using the pardon power to cover up and permanently excuse this wrongdoing.

So let me be perfectly clear, in the way that everyone who might be President next should be: If I’m elected President of the United States, there will be no pardons for anyone implicated in these investigations.

Everyone who might succeed Donald Trump as president should adopt the same policy. Starting with Vice President Mike Pence.

This means no pardons or commutations for anyone who is prosecuted and sentenced as part of the Mueller investigation.

No pardons or commutations for any other person implicated as part of a federal criminal investigation into illegal activity related to Donald Trump.

And no pardon or commutation for Donald Trump himself.

The pardon and clemency powers are supposed to be about granting mercy to the powerless — not immunity for the powerful.

President Obama understood that. That’s why he responded to a broken system of mass incarceration by using his authority to commute the harsh sentences of hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders.

Who has Donald Trump helped with the pardon power? Right-wing cronies and political allies.

  • Dinesh D’Souza, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who pled guilty to illegal violations of campaign finance laws.
  • Scooter Libby, a top lieutenant of Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice involving the politically motivated leak of a CIA operative’s identity.
  • Joe Arpaio, a racist Arizona sheriff who targeted Latinos and defied court orders in between serving as a campaign surrogate for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump shouldn’t use his power to shield his friends from justice. And the next President shouldn’t protect them, either. If you agree that we need to restore the rule of law, sign our petition.

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