Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Will Reintroduce Constitutional Amendment to Limit the President’s Pardon Power

November 29, 2018
Press Release
Would prohibit a President from Pardoning Himself, His Family or Staff

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, announced today his intention to reintroduce his constitutional amendment to limit the President’s pardon power when the new Congress convenes in January.

Last year, following the indictment of Paul Manafort, Congressman Cohen introduced H. J. Res. 120, a constitutional amendment that would prohibit presidents from pardoning themselves, as well as members of their family, their administration and campaign staff.

“President Trump’s overtures to his convicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pose a dangerous threat to the rule of law and are not what the Founders intended when they included the pardon power in the Constitution.  The pardon power is supposed to serve justice, not thwart it.  It was never meant to immunize presidents’ families and close advisors against laws the rest of us must obey.  That’s what kings and dictators do, and if there is one thing the Founders made clear, it was that we don’t have kings in the United States of America.”

“Manafort is not the only convicted former Trump advisor facing serious questions about the legality of their conduct.  Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos have all been convicted or pleaded guilty, and questions remain about the conduct of Roger Stone and even Trump’s son and son-in-law.  We need to limit the scope of the pardon power to protect the rule of law.”

The amendment would apply to the current as well as future presidents.