Republican Senators Urge Trump to Avoid Pardon Controversies

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Several Republican Senators are urging Trump to use caution and stick to procedure in his pardon abilities in his last days in office.

They want him to follow federal procedures, which give the Office of the Pardon Attorney a role in vetting pardon requests. While GOP senators recognize that Trump has broad pardon authority, they’re hoping to avoid a political uproar over last-minute pardons of figures within his inner circle — such as members of his family, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former advisers or wealthy donors.

  • Susan Collins (Maine) said she was concerned she thought it would be wise to follow the recommendations of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney.
  • Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) said he didn’t know if there was anything to the story he’d heard about Trump pardoning himself and his family, but he thought pardons should be “used judiciously.”
  • Chuck Grassley (Iowa) agreed with Susan Collins that procedure should be followed, but said the Constitution grants the president the sole power, and that there was little recourse to push back.
  • Mike Rounds (South Dakota), a former governor, said the power to pardon “should always be exercised after serious thought. I hope and would think the president feels the same way.”
  • Mitt Romney (Utah) said that a pardon of himself and the family would create an unnecessary negative association when no criminal charges have been filed. Romney said it suggests there was criminal activity, and that no family would want to be associated with that. Working with the Office of the Pardon Attorney would be a “fair recommendation.”
  • Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) said, “I don’t know of what crimes they’re facing. I don’t see any criminal liability for anybody in his family,”

The Hill