US President Trump pardons his 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime ally Roger Stone, in a new round of clemency action.
US President Donald Trump has issued a new raft of pardons for allies including Jared Kushner's father, adding to a long list he has granted in his waning days in office.
In addition to the pardon for Charles Kushner – the father of his son-in-law – Trump also pardoned his 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime ally Roger Stone, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
They were among 26 people pardoned and three who had all or part of their sentences commuted on Wednesday by Trump.
They come only a day after Trump pardoned another 15 people and commuted sentences for five.
Tuesday's list included two people linked to the probe into alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia and four Blackwater security guards convicted over the 2007 killing of 14 Iraqi civilians.
Those pardons drew outrage, and Wednesday's actions were likely to do the same.
Benefit of doubt
The pardons reflected Trump’s apparent willingness to give the benefit of doubt to American service members and contractors when it comes to acts of violence in warzones against civilians.
Last November, for instance, he pardoned a former US Army commando who was set to stand trial next year in the killing of a suspected Afghan bomb-maker and a former Army lieutenant convicted of murder for ordering his men to fire upon three Afghans.
'Paul Slough and his colleagues didn’t deserve to spend one minute in prison," said Brian Heberlig, a lawyer for one of the four pardoned Blackwater defendants. "I am overwhelmed with emotion at this fantastic news."
Manafort, 70, was among the first in Trump's inner circle to face charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone was convicted in November 2019 by a Washington jury of lying under oath to lawmakers also investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump commuted his sentence in July, a day before Stone was due to begin serving a term of three years and four months.
Kushner, the father of Trump's son-in-law, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering, and making unlawful campaign donations.
In an unusual twist, the man who prosecuted Charles Kushner was Chris Christie, now the former governor of New Jersey, who also has served as an adviser to Trump.
Christie was quoted by CNN as saying Charles Kushner's case was "one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes" he prosecuted.