In a recent Boston Globe piece FSFP Legal Director Ron Fein and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe make a strong case for broadening the scope of the ongoing impeachment inquiry to include Donald Trump’s abuse of the pardon power. Citing Trump’s unlawful pardon of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2017, they argue that Congress should look beyond the Ukraine scandal in order to hold the President fully accountable.
Trump’s pardon of Arpaio…sent the message that officials can violate the law with impunity. If their crimes please Trump, he’ll pardon them. Indeed, he reportedly offered to do that twice this year already, offering to pardon the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection if he were jailed for violating asylum seekers’ legal rights, and later offering to pardon officials who violate federal law to build his border wall.
After details of a scandalous phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine revealed Trump sought to influence the 2020 election, House Democrats have focused almost exclusively on ‘Ukrainegate’ during their impeachment probe. As both authors point out, neglecting over a dozen other impeachable offenses committed by this President is an affront to the Constitution:
“It’s tempting for the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry to zero in on Ukraine. The case for focusing the nation’s attention on abuse of power is compelling, but the committee needs to consider broadening whatever article of impeachment accuses the president of abusing his presidential authority to encompass abuses unrelated to the Ukraine fiasco.
This broader article should include such abuses as unjustifiably refusing to cooperate with the impeachment process authorized by the Constitution; corruptly seeking to undermine all legitimate inquiries into how the president ascended to his high office in the first instance; and blatantly misusing the pardon power, not to temper justice with mercy, but rather to cover up executive misconduct or to facilitate violations of individual rights.”
Read the full piece in the Boston Globe here