NY State Passes Law To Bypass Trump Pardon Power

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As President Donald Trump remains ensnared in a web of both federal and state investigations, this week, New York state authorities have taken a substantive step to keep him in line. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that explicitly allows state authorities to prosecute individuals who have received presidential pardons if they committed crimes under the state’s jurisdiction. This move serves as a direct affront to Trump, who has openly flaunted his pardon power in the past and considered pardoning criminally charged associates like former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Cuomo insisted:

‘No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them. The closure of this egregious loophole gives prosecutors the ability to stand up against any abuse of power, and helps ensure that no politically motivated, self-serving action is sanctioned under law.’

New York state Attorney General Letitia James noted that previously existing legislation against double jeopardy, meaning facing charges twice for the same crime, “exists to prevent someone from being charged twice for the same crime, not to allow them to evade justice altogether.”

She added:

‘We have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who commit crimes under New York state law are held accountable for those crimes.’

She has been investigating Trump family activities already, including the financial activities of the president himself and his family business. She got that investigation going — which is one of many — after Trump’s former longtime “fixer” Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump routinely adjusted the stated valuations of his assets to financially benefit him in situations like attempts at loans and facing tax authorities.

Just this week, ProPublica published information about an array of Trump’s financial documents they’d gotten their hands on that seemed to demonstrate the truth of Cohen’s allegations. In one instance, the publication found that the president’s business reported revenue to loan authorities from renting out commercial space at a particular NYC location that was more than double what they’d told tax authorities they’d earned for that same period. That’s not just a typo — it’s an apparent flagrant, demonstrable attempt to seem better off to lenders and worse off to tax authorities.

New York’s Democratic state Sen. Todd Kaminsky noted that in the wake of all these developments, Trump has been “all but pledging to corruptly abuse his pardon power to allow friends and associates off the hook.”

Besides other issues, a new scandal has emerged ensnaring the president and some of his closest associates, like former New York City mayor turned personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who’s now under investigation by federal authorities in New York over his business dealings, including with two associates (Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman) who were recently arrested over a massive scheme to violate federal campaign finance law.

Besides Trump personally then — and he has included himself in his proud proclamations of pardon power — the new New York law could get at some of his closest associates, like Giuliani and others.

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