House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is planning legislation to rein in presidential power after Trump commuted the prison sentence of his longtime ally Roger Stone, who had been scheduled to report to prison on Tuesday. Stone, who will now no longer have to report to prison at all, had been found guilty of an array of federal crimes relating to an obstruction of justice scheme that he launched in part to try and shield the president and the Trump campaign from scrutiny. He’d lied to Congressional investigators and threatened a fellow witness in an attempt to pressure him into going along with the lies, among other acts.
In a Saturday statement, Pelosi insisted:
‘Congress will take action to prevent this type of brazen wrongdoing. Legislation is needed to ensure that no President can pardon or commute the sentence of an individual who is engaged in a cover-up campaign to shield that President from criminal prosecution.’
President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of top campaign advisor Roger Stone, who could directly implicate him in criminal misconduct, is an act of staggering corruption. https://t.co/Ljqu2E71zs
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 11, 2020
She also pointed to the November election as another opportunity to avert more catastrophic corruption from Trump. Voting in someone other than Trump will suddenly get him and his cronies out from behind the wheel of the federal government’s policy. As Pelosi put it:
‘This decision and Trump’s many other acts of corruption point to the urgency of electing a President in November who will respect the Constitution, the rule of law and the will of the American people.’
Pelosi, like many other prominent Democrats, has formally endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who leads Trump in many polls on the national level and in swing states around the country, including states that Trump won in 2016 and were crucial to his margin of victory in the electoral college. According to RealClearPolitics, Biden leads Trump by an average of 8.8 percent on the national level, as of Saturday afternoon. Biden also leads in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Pelosi’s call for legislation dealing with presidential pardon and clemency power comes on the heels of the 2019 introduction of related legislation by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. In pardon situations, his legislation would mandate the delivery from the Attorney General to relevant Congressional committees of “all materials of an investigation that were obtained by a United States Attorney, another Federal prosecutor, or an investigative authority of the Federal Government, relating to the offense for which the individual is so pardoned.” Those materials would give the chance for Congress to investigate potential conflicts of interest behind the pardon.
Schiff is among those who’ve spoken out strongly against Trump over his commutation of Stone’s sentence. He commented:
‘Trump just commuted Roger Stone’s sentence. Stone lied and intimidated witnesses to hide Trump’s exploitation of the Russian hack of his opponent’s campaign. With Trump there are now two systems of justice in America: One for Trump’s criminal friends and one for everyone else.’
Trump just commuted Roger Stone’s sentence.
Stone lied and intimidated witnesses to hide Trump’s exploitation of the Russian hack of his opponent’s campaign.
With Trump there are now two systems of justice in America:
One for Trump's criminal friends and one for everyone else.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 11, 2020
Trump doesn’t appear to care. He’s convinced himself that just about every opponent imaginable is somehow out to get him, and he wants everyone else to believe that nonsense too.