Sen. Pat Toomey on Sunday said President Donald Trump had gone too far with some of his presidential pardons.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the Pennsylvania Republican said that while the president had the right to pardon anyone, “I think it’s a misuse of the power” to pardon people whose greatest claim to this special form of justice is a connection to the president.
Toomey defended the pardon of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying he was wrongfully prosecuted, but criticized Trump for pardoning others for their various crimes. Without being specific, he compared those pardons to President Bill Clinton’s pardon of financier Marc Rich in 2001.
“I mean, my goodness, we have tax fraud and bank fraud, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, but because they were close to the president they got pardoned,” he said.
Besides Flynn, Trump has recently pardoned dozens of people, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort; Charles Kushner, father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner; and former Republican congressmen Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter, Steve Stockman and Mark Sijander. Three figures who were part of the Mueller Russia investigation — Roger Stone, Alex Van Der Zwaan and George Papadopoulos — were also pardoned.
When asked whether presidential pardons should be restricted, Toomey was dubious. “It’s a good discussion to have but it’s a tough call,” he said. “I think it would be very challenging.”
There has been speculation that Trump is not done with pardons, and might consider preemptively pardoning himself and/or members of his family. Toomey said he didn’t know what to expect.
“The president is often unpredictable,” he said.