The state of New York wants the president’s power of pardon to be a little less effective.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law on Wednesday a bill that will allow prosecutors in the state to pursue cases where they have jurisdiction — even if Trump (or any other president) pardons the charged individual at the federal level, the Rochester-based Democrat and Chronicle reports.
“No one is above the law,” Cuomo said, “and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them.”
#BREAKING: I just signed legislation closing New York’s double jeopardy loophole, authorizing the state to prosecute individuals pardoned by a president.
No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 16, 2019
Going after Trump
According to the Chronicle, the bill “only applies to instances where a presidential pardon is deemed a conflict of interest, such as those who are relatives, employees in the executive branch, campaign staff or who worked for an entity ‘owned or controlled by the president granting such reprieve, pardon or other form of clemency.’”
This makes it sound just like it’s targeting the Trump administration. And in fact, it looks like Democrats aren’t even trying to hide it.
The bill was first passed by lawmakers in May, the Chronicle reports, at the request of the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, who has several pending lawsuits against the Trump administration.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who commit crimes under New York state law are held accountable for those crimes,” James said, praising what she called a “critical new law.”
James added that the legislation “closes a gaping loophole that could have allowed any president to abuse the presidential pardon power by unfairly granting a pardon to a family member or close associate and possibly allow that individual to evade justice altogether.”
Grasping at straws
Of course, this is just another ploy by Democrats to undermine Trump’s leadership as commander in chief.
Unfortunately for Dems, this probably won’t help them take Trump down.
The bill’s narrow scope merely allows New York prosecutors to go after close allies of the president in the case of a pardon. But President Trump hasn’t exactly been generous in using his pardon power — because he hasn’t had to.
The president, his family, and his close allies in Washington have done nothing wrong. Try as Democrats might to investigate “wrongdoing” by the White House, it looks like they are just going to keep coming up short.