Donald Trump has pardoned an additional 26 people in his second major wave of grace actions since Tuesday, marking yet another bold application of the president’s power to reward loyalists

The US President pardoned his former election chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime advisor Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner

Stone, a longtime friend and collaborator, was convicted by the president in July on a number of charges related to the Russian investigation
In total, Trump pardoned 29 people on Wednesday, including Margaret Hunter, the wife of Duncan Hunter, the former Republican representative of California, who was pardoned yesterday

Trump’s latest pre-Christmas pardon follows a brazen round of pardons and commutations granted on Tuesday.The president issued 15 pardons and five commutations to allies, including two people involved in Special Envoy Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference plead guilty in the 2016 US election

On Tuesday, President George Papadopoulos pardoned a former adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to federal officials during the Russia investigation and Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer and son-in-law of Russian billionaire German Khan Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to similar allegations

Papadopoulos and Van der Zwaan were the third and fourth people to be pardoned on charges in connection with the Russia investigation.In November, Trump pardoned his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to the FBI for contacting one Lied to Russian officials The president, who long ridiculed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections as a “joke”, was expected to hand out pardons to those involved in the investigation

Tuesday’s pardon was also given to four former Blackwater contractors convicted of a 2007 massacre in Iraq The four men who were part of a security convoy shot indiscriminately at civilians, killing 14 people – including a nine-year-old child Der Step was sharply criticized, including by the families of those killed. Adil al-Khazali, whose father Ali was killed in the attack, replied: “There is no justice”

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president has extensive unilateral pardon powers, but pardons are traditionally reviewed by the Justice Department.However, many of Trump’s pardons appear to conflict with the department’s standards – and are instead used as a means of rewarding allies or to Action against grudges granted According to a tally by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, only five of 65 pardons and commutations Trump issued before Wednesday were recommended by the Justice Department’s pardon attorney

Manafort, 71, has been convicted of convictions including unregistered lobbying, tax fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. 68-year-old Stone has been convicted of lying to Congress and obstructing a Congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign was cooperating with Russia had to win the 2016 election Mr President, my & family I humbly thank you for the President’s apology that you have given me. Words cannot fully convey how grateful we are, ”tweeted Manafort on Wednesday evening

A presidential pardon will not protect anyone from state charges, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, still trying to prosecute Manafort for state crimes, Trump’s pardon “underscores the urgent need to hold Mr Manafort accountable for his crimes against the people of New York alleged in our indictment, and we will continue to appeal,” said Danny Frost , a spokesperson for Vance, told CNBC A judge previously prevented Vance from moving his case forward to protect Manafort from being prosecuted twice for the same crimes
A Trump attorney reportedly offered Manafort and Flynn pardons when they were approached by federal investigators, suggesting that the pardons were offered in exchange for loyalty to Trump, The New York Times reported the news first in 2018 In his post-investigation report, Mueller wrote: “Many of the President’s acts against witnesses, including discouragement to cooperate with the government and suggestions for possible future pardons, have been seen publicly”

Adam Schiff, the California Democratic representative who was prosecuting Trump’s impeachment, said: “During the Mueller investigation, Trump’s attorney, Manafort, made an apology. Manafort withdrew from prosecutors, lied, was convicted, and then Trump praised him for not “rattling” Trump’s pardon now completes the corrupt scheme ”

The congressman also noted that many federal prison sentences had been convicted of nonviolent crimes and deserved redress, “But who does Trump forgive? The ones who lie, cheat or steal for him and his family, “said Schiff

Charles Kushner, 66, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and lied to the Bundestag Electoral Commission.He also pleaded guilty to witnessing tampering after defending himself against his brother-in-law William Schulder, who was accused of collaborating with federal investigators hired a sex worker to seduce Schulder, videotape the encounter, and send the tape to Schulder’s wife – Kushner’s sister

Another twist: Kushner has been prosecuted by Chris Christie, a former US attorney and governor of New Jersey who was a Trump loyalist

The executive director of the Citizens’ Responsibility and Ethics Monitoring Group said, “With the pardon of Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, President Trump has made it clear that he believes the purpose of the pardon is to give rich white save men who were connected to him Trump has turned an instrument of mercy and justice into another way of being corrupt ”

Ben Sasse, a Republican Senator from Nebraska, made a more succinct statement in response to the pardons: “This is rotten to the core”

It is unclear whether the president will issue any more pardons that the White House has been discussing, distributing “like Christmas presents,” Axios reported The White House, which shares the president’s public schedule with the media daily, said that Trump will be in Florida on Christmas Eve and “as the holiday season begins, President Trump will continue to work tirelessly for the American people. His schedule includes many meetings and calls”

Charles Kushner

World news – USA – Donald Trump’s latest wave of pardons includes Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/23/donald-trumps-latest-wave-of-pardons-includes-paul-manafort-and-charles-kunsher