United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned another 26 people, erasing convictions and sentences of his loyalists, in a second wave of clemency before he vacates office, reported AFP.
Among those who were pardoned in this round was former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime adviser Roger Stone, and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the White House said in a statement.
Charles Kushner, a real estate magnate, had pleaded guilty to charges, including tax evasion and witness tampering in 2004. Manafort was among those convicted in 2018 in an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, while Stone was convicted of lying to Congress about his attempts to contact Wikileaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.
Also on the list was Margaret Hunter, the wife of former Representative Duncan D Hunter, republican of California. Both of them had pleaded guilty to charges of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses, according to The New York Times. Duncan D Hunter was pardoned by the president on Tuesday.
A pardon is an expression of the president’s forgiveness that confers extra privileges such as restoring the convict’s right to vote or serve on juries. Presidents often grand pardons in the final days of office, but Trump has used the power more sparingly than any president in modern history apart from George HW Bush, according to BBC.
Trump’s latest round of pardons came only a day after he pardoned 15 people and commuted sentences for five. A commutation usually takes the form of a reduced prison term, but does not erase the conviction or imply innocence.
Tuesday’s list included two other figures who were convicted in the US special counsel inquiry into alleged Russian election interference. George Papadopoulos was an advisor to Trump’s campaign in 2016 and had pleaded guilty in 2017 for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about the timing and significance of his contacts with people who claimed to have ties to top Russian officials. Trump also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer, who was sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000 for lying to US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators about contacts with an official in Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Last month, Trump had pardoned his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who pled guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the investigation of Russian meddling in 2016 elections.
Of the 65 total pardons and commutations that Trump granted before Wednesday, 60 have gone to those who had a personal ties with him, or who helped his political aims, according to a tabulation by the Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith, The New York Times reported.