President Donald Trump has pardoned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, ex-adviser and longtime ally Roger Stone, and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump’s son-in-law.
Paul Manafort was sentenced in 2018 in an inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the “US election 2016”. Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress.
They are among 29 people to assist from Trump’s latest clemency spree before leaving office next month. On Wednesday night, twenty-six of them won full pardons, while another three received commutations. A commutation generally takes the form of a reduced prison term but does not erase the conviction or imply guiltlessness.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the damage Donald Trump will do to our democracy in his remaining days as president. Every Senate Republican who has enabled his escalating abuse of power for the last 4 years is responsible for this. https://t.co/2EOyuKbJFx
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) December 24, 2020
A pardon, an expression of the president’s amnesty, confers extra privileges, such as giving back the convict’s right to vote.
Besides George HW Bush, President Trump has used the authority less than any president in modern history.
Paul Manafort Reaction
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, had said in March 2019 that forgiving Manafort would be seen as a political calamity for President Trump.
Trump secured Manafort from serving most of his seven-and-a-half-year prison term for financial fraud. Paul had been serving his term under self-quarantine since being released from federal prison in May over coronavirus fears.
NEW statement from Paul Manafort provided by his lawyer: “Mr. President, my family and I humbly thank you for the Presidential Pardon you bestowed on me. Words cannot fully convey how grateful we are…” pic.twitter.com/xj8bDWlvSv
— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) December 24, 2020
Paul Manafort stated that his lawyer claimed that he and his family humbly thanks for the Presidential Pardon you showered on me. We have no words to show our gratefulness fully.
Roger Stone Urging Trump to Pardon More
Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress in November 2019 about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks. Wikileaks is a website that released damaging emails about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival, in 2016.
Trump’s longtime friend welcomed his sentenced upgradation to full forgiveness. Politico reported that Stone had been the victim of a Soviet-style show trial on politically motivated charges.
Stone is urging Trump to pardon Julian Assange, WikiLeaks co-founder and National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Pardon for Charles Kushner
President Trump pardoned White House adviser Charles Kushner, a real estate tycoon and the father of Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner.
Charles Kushner’s family owns 20,000 properties from New York to Virginia. He also gets penalized for two years in prison in 2004 for charges like tax evasion, campaign finance crimes, and witness tampering.
President’s Second Wave of Clemency Orders
On Tuesday night, Trump pardoned 15 people and bestowed commutations on five others.
Beyond the high-profile pardons, Trump also pardoned more than 20 other persons, including those who had pleaded guilty to various cyber-crimes, firearm possession, and mail fraud. Moreover, he also commuted the sentences of three other persons.
The pardons movement comes on late Wednesday after Trump used his extensive pardon powers on Tuesday for a list that included former campaign assistant George Papadopoulos, former congressman Chris Collins, and the four Blackwater guards involved in the Iraq massacre.
Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser, although convicted in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry. Flynn had acknowledged lying to the FBI. Flynn pleaded guilty to willfully and knowingly making false and fictitious declarations to the FBI regarding talks with Russia’s ambassador.
The reaction of American Political Leaders towards Trump’s Pardon Wave
The chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, stated in a tweet that during the Mueller investigation, Trump’s lawyer hovered a pardon to Manafort. Moreover, Schiff said that Trump’s pardon now completes the corrupt scheme being lawless until the bitter end.
Chris Murphy, US Senator, tweeted that once one party allows the pardon power to become a criminal enterprise tool, its danger to democracy compensates for its utility as an instrument of justice. Chris Murphy further stated that it is the time to take away the pardon power from the Constitution of the United States.