Rep. Pramila Jayapal Calls Donald Trump's 'Last-Second Pardons' an 'Abuse of Power'

Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has criticized President Donald Trump ahead of the pardons he's expected to issue on Tuesday—amid unconfirmed reports that they may benefit political allies.

Jayapal, who represents Washington's 7th congressional district, took to Twitter late on Monday to warn against impending pardons. It's not yet clear who the president will choose to grant clemency to on his last full day in office.

"Trump will issue last second pardons tomorrow," Jayapal said. "They'll be another abuse of power by a corrupt, failed, one-term, twice-impeached president who has routinely undermined the rule of law, the constitution, and our democracy."

"We must hold him accountable even after he leaves office."

Trump will officially leave office at noon on January 20, but he's widely expected to issue pardons on Tuesday. Reports suggest he could pardon more than 100 people.

The president met with his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and aides on Sunday to discuss pardons, according to The Washington Post.

There is currently no information about who Trump will pardon but speculation has swirled for months. After President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, focus turned to whether the outgoing president would pardon his political allies, his children—or even himself. Trump is also expected to make some pardons with criminal justice reform in mind.

Trump will issue last second pardons tomorrow. They'll be another abuse of power by a corrupt, failed, one-term, twice-impeached president who has routinely undermined the rule of law, the constitution, and our democracy.

We must hold him accountable even after he leaves office.

— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 19, 2021

The idea of a self-pardon has re-emerged in recent days following the deadly Capitol riot on January 6 that left five people dead. Many have accused Trump of inciting the riot, the central charge in his second impeachment.

"The Senate reconvenes tomorrow. They should immediately convict Donald Trump and hold him fully accountable for inciting a deadly attack on our country," Jayapal said on Monday.

It remains unclear if Trump has the power to pardon himself. Legal scholars are divided on the matter as no president has ever tried to self-pardon and the principle has never been tested in the courts.

However, there is little disagreement about Trump's power to pardon others. As president, he can issue pardons to anyone he wishes, including those who have not yet been charged with or accused of federal crimes. Accepting a pardon is also not an admission of guilt, despite popular belief. However, he can only pardon federal offenses.

Names frequently mentioned for pardons include former New York Mayor and Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. A clearer picture will emerge on Tuesday.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal Questions AG William Barr
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) questions Attorney General William Barr during the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Jayapal has called President Donald Trump's upcoming pardons an "abuse of power." Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images