Dem Rep Cohen: I See Trump Using Pardon Power to Obstruct Justice, ‘the Resolution’ ‘Is Impeachment’

On Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Wolf,” Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) stated he believes the pardon of author Dinesh D’Souza is sending a message to President Trump’s supporters about the Russia investigation and that if the pardon power is used to obstruct justice, “which is what I see happening, the resolution, according to the Federalist Papers, is impeachment, and it needs to be talked about.”

Anchor Wolf Blitzer asked, “Congressman, so what’s your reaction to the president’s decision to grant this full pardon to Dinesh D’Souza. Do you believe it’s aimed at sending a message to his supporters about the Russia investigation?”

Cohen answered, “I think there’s no question it is, and same thing for the talk about Blagojevich and Martha Stewart. I was talking — just kind of random talk with one of my colleagues a week and a half ago, and something came up about a pardon, and he said to me — he said, ‘We’re going to show you what pardons are all about real soon.’ And this is a fellow who talks to the president on a regular basis. And I don’t know if he necessarily knew what he was talking about, but I suspect he did, and what he was saying was basically, we’re going to have like a Saturday Night Massacre, where there’s going to be several pardons in one day. And I think Manafort knows it. I think Michael Cohen knows it. I think others know it. I think Robert Mueller probably knows it. And it has the potential to be an obstruction of justice case.”

He continued, “You can — the president has total authority to issue pardons pursuant to the Constitution. It’s an unlimited power. But if you abuse the power, and there can be an abuse of the power, and the Federalist Papers talked about it, the remedy for that is impeachment. Some people say you shouldn’t talk about impeachment, but you have to talk about impeachment when the Constitution has been impugned. And if the pardon power is what is being used to obstruct the — justice in this case, which is what I see happening, the resolution, according to the Federalist Papers, is impeachment, and it needs to be talked about.”

Cohen added, “[I]mpeachment can be on — it’s high crimes and misdemeanors, not defined, but it can be what the Congress could construe to be abusing that power to where it is malevolent, to where it causes the public to have less confidence in their judicial officials, which is what we saw in the Arpaio case, where Arpaio thumbed his nose to the judiciary and Trump said, ‘Fine.’ This D’Souza guy thumbs his nose to the election laws and he says, ‘Fine.’ Martha Stewart thumbs her nose to the — to insider trading and he says, ‘Fine.’ And Blagojevich was trying to sell a Senate seat. So, he’s basically saying all these people who have acted to really put seeds of doubt in the public’s mind about institutions and about fairness are going to be freed because he thinks it’s OK.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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