House panel subpoenas documents linked to Trump's alleged pardon offers

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By Rebecca Shabad  with NBC News Politics
Image: Jerrold Nadler
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., suggested the move was relevant to the panel's ongoing investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president.   -   Copyright  J. Scott Applewhite AP file

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday that it had issued a subpoena to the Department of Homeland Security for documents related to President Donald Trump's alleged attempts to offer pardons to people carrying out the administration's immigration policies.

The subpoena specifically requests documents including "any legal opinion, guidance or memoranda referring or relating to the issuance of pardons" of DHS officials on the U.S.-Mexico border, "including but not limited to the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws or the construction" of the president's promised border wall.

The move follows reports the president told DHS officials that he would offer them pardons if they were found to have broken federal law while carrying out his immigration agenda. Trump has denied making such offers.

Nadler cited two meetings between the president and DHS officials — one in March and another in April — in which pardons were reportedly discussed, including one with former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the administration's zero-tolerance policy, and another with Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

Under the subpoena, McAleenan is required to produce the requested materials to the committee by 10 a.m. ET on September 17.

"The Framers did not envision the use of the presidential pardon power to encourage criminal acts at the President's direction," the committee's chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement Wednesday. "As the Committee continues its investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment, it is imperative that we are able to obtain information about ongoing presidential misconduct and abuses of power."