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Nation & World

Trump Pardons Roger Stone, Paul Manafort And Charles Kushner

President Trump emerges from the Oval Office Wednesday as he departs the White House en route to Mar-a-Lago, where he will spend Christmas and New Years Eve.
President Trump emerges from the Oval Office Wednesday as he departs the White House en route to Mar-a-Lago, where he will spend Christmas and New Years Eve.

President Trump issued several more pardons on Wednesday evening, including to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Republican operative Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father-in-law of Ivanka Trump.

In total, Trump pardoned 26 people and commuted the sentences of three more people — the second consecutive night of what is expected to be a flurry of acts of clemency before he leaves office.

Manafort, who was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, was released in May from a minimum security federal lockup and moved to home confinement over concerns about the coronavirus.

"As a result of blatant prosecutorial overreach, Mr. Manafort has endured years of unfair treatment and is one of the most prominent victims of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history," the White House press secretary said in a statement announcing the pardon.

Manafort spent his career as a high-level power broker and advocate for some of the most infamous clients in the world, including dictators Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko.

In the 2000s, Manafort connected with Viktor Yanukovych, a Russia-friendly strongman who served as president of Ukraine until he was thrown out of power in a popular revolt. Manafort made millions of dollars working for Yanukovych, but his work in Ukraine set the stage for Manafort's eventual prosecution and imprisonment.

Manafort and his protege, Rick Gates, hid from authorities the money they earned in Ukraine and came to the attention of U.S. investigators before the two went to work in 2016 for then-candidate Donald Trump.

The case against Stone was brought by then-special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Stone was indicted on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. The charges related to his efforts during the 2016 presidential race to act as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.

Charles Kushner is the father of Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump. A real estate magnate, Charles Kushner served time in prison for tax evasion and retaliating against a federal witness — his brother-in-law.

The pardons come one day after Trump granted full pardons to 15 individuals and commuted part or all of the sentences of an additional five. Those pardons included three Republican former members of Congress, those involved in the Russia investigation and contractors convicted for killing civilians in Iraq.

Activists have lobbied Trump to help prisoners who are serving long sentences.

Ahead of the most recent announcement, Trump had issued more than 40 pardons and more than 30 commutations during his time in office.

He has pushed the limits of the presidential pardon in that time, pardoning close allies involved in politically sensitive cases. But there are few limits on a president's power to issue pardons.

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