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U.S. House panel subpoenas DHS chief over alleged Trump pardon offers

U.S. House panel subpoenas DHS chief over alleged Trump pardon offers
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan attends a news conference in San Salvador, El Salvador August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas -
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, to testify about President Donald Trump’s alleged offer of pardons to officials implementing U.S. immigration policy.

McAleenan is required to appear before the panel at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on Sept. 17, according to a copy of the subpoena released by the panel. The committee said it was also seeking documents related to March 21 and April 5 meetings between Trump and DHS officials and other communications related to enforcement of U.S. immigration policy.

The committee cited news reports of Trump’s alleged offers of pardons. The New York Times reported in April that Trump urged McAleenan to close the Southwest U.S.-Mexico border, telling the official he would pardon him if he faced legal action for doing so. The Washington Post reported last month that Trump suggested he would pardon officials if they got in trouble for aggressively seizing private land and disregarding environmental rules to construct a border fence.

“The dangling of pardons by the President to encourage government officials to violate federal law would constitute another reported example of the president’s disregard for the rule of law,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrod Nadler said in a statement.

The panel, which is actively considering whether to recommend impeachment proceedings against Trump, is also investigating alleged hush money payments made just before the 2016 presidential election to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump and alleged violations of constitutional bans against officials receiving payments from foreign and domestic governments.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown)

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