After media reports came about detailing how President Donald Trump may have allegedly offered pardons to staff in the White House in order to expedite border wall construction in a possibly illegal manner, many on social media and in news reports elsewhere suggested that the president may have violated ethical rules, to say the least, and may have committed an impeachable offense.
Trump has so far denied that he made such offers, and allies of the president have defended his comments, if they even happened at all, as him just making a joke. But the reports have apparently piqued the interests of Democrats in Congress, who want to ensure that the president wasn’t abusing his authority.
The House Judiciary Committee, which is presently controlled by Democrats, subpoenaed the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday to obtain records relating to the claims that Trump may have made pardon offers, Politico reported.
“The Framers did not envision the use of the presidential pardon power to encourage criminal acts at the president’s direction,” committee chair 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.”
House Judiciary Committee issues subpoena over Trump’s alleged offer to pardon DHS officials – https://t.co/skJmrt2nBv
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) September 5, 2019
Per previous reports from HillReporter.com, officials privy to meetings occurring at the White House told the Washington Post that Trump had indeed promised to issue pardons to his staff, to ease worries that the expedited construction of the border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border may violate federal rules or even break the law.
“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” Trump is alleged to have said.
Although the power of the pardon is one of the few rules with very little oversight that the president wields, the abuse of any of his presidential powers to promote criminal activities is traditionally seen as an impeachable action. Indeed, even if a crime is expunged from one’s record, the actions of the president need not be definitionally criminal in order to warrant an impeachment.
Trump promised on the campaign trail in 2016 to construct 500 miles of border wall. So far, his administration can only claim that 60 miles of wall have been built, but only as replacements for already-constructed wall sites that were in need of repair, PolitiFact reported.