Democrat Introduces Bills to Eliminate Electoral College, Ban President From Pardoning Himself

Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen introduced two bills taking aim at President Donald Trump after the new Democratic-led House of Representatives was sworn in Thursday.

Cohen introduced the constitutional amendments Thursday night, The Hill reported. The amendments are not likely to pass since they require a two-thirds vote in both chambers before they must be ratified by three-fourths of all the states.

“Presidents should not pardon themselves, their families, their administration or campaign staff," Cohen said in a statement. "This constitutional amendment would expressly prohibit this and any future president, from abusing the pardon power.”

Cohen previously predicted that President Donald Trump’s son Donald Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner would be indicted in the Mueller probe.

Trump has declared that he has the power to pardon himself.

"As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” the president said in a tweet in 2018.

Cohen’s legislation also takes aim at the electoral college, after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 304 electoral votes to 227 electoral votes despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

"In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College," Cohen said a statement. "Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office."

"More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators," he added. "It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President.”

Experts don’t believe Trump can pardon himself:

“The reason these arguments have never been made before is that they are extreme and dangerous,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told The Guardian. “Although the arguments are without precedent, it is hard for me to believe that courts would conclude that the president can commit crimes with impunity and abuse prosecutorial power for his own gain.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a close Trump ally, said on CNN that he doesn’t think presidents should pardon themselves.

“The president is not saying he’s going to pardon himself,” he said. “I don’t know why we’re walking through hypotheticals here in this process. The president has never said he’d pardon himself. I don’t know where the president would go forward pardoning himself. I don’t think a president should pardon themselves.”

Americans support eliminating electoral college:

According to a poll released last summer, 65% of Americans support electing a president through the popular vote while just 32% of voters want to keep the electoral college.

“Gallup polling going back to 2000 shows overwhelming support for getting rid of the Electoral College to adopt the popular vote,” CNN reported.


Image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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