pardon power : Donald Trump holding cut cat5 cable

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA) Remix by Jason Reed

Congressman to propose constitutional amendment to limit Trump’s pardon power

It's a long shot.


David Covucci


Published Oct 30, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 12:50 pm CDT

A Democratic lawmaker wants to change the constitution in the wake of the Justice Department’s indictment of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

Manafort was indicted Monday morning on numerous counts, including “conspiracy against the United States,” stemming from alleged tax evasion and money-laundering efforts.

Now, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) wants to change the constitution to prevent President Donald Trump from letting his former campaign chair walk. In a statement, he said he would introduce the amendment Tuesday.

“The indictment of Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman last year, accelerates the need to pass a Constitutional amendment limiting a president’s pardoning authority. The indictment makes clear that some of Manafort’s activities took place while he was working on the Trump campaign so the need is clear and present.”

The statement does not mention how Cohen’s amendment would alter the pardon power, which is currently plenary.

Congress needs a two-thirds majority to send an amendment to the states, and it must be approved by three-fourths of states to go into effect. The last constitutional amendment to be ratified was the 27th Amendment in 1992, which prohibited Congress from raising their salaries in the term they are currently serving. It took over 200 years to pass after it was first proposed.

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*First Published: Oct 30, 2017, 2:25 pm CDT