Friday, March 31, 2023

Trump forgives Stone and Manafort in new acts of mercy for his allies

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Donald Trump has bestowed a new round of pardons on dozens of people, including close associates, as he continues to mark his final days in office with favors for his political and personal allies.

The US president on Wednesday evening announced 26 pardons, including for Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager and longtime confidant Roger stone, both of whom were convicted of crimes related to the Mueller inquiry into Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

He also granted a pardon to Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared. Charles Kushner was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of tax evasion and witness tampering, and was released in 2006.

The announcement marked the second time in two days the president has pardoned former associates, coming 24 hours after he granted clemency to 20 people, including the granting of pardons to George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan.

The first announcement triggered the conviction of legal and constitutional experts, many of whom accused him of abusing presidential power to pardon people or commute their sentences.

An analysis by Professor Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School showed that before Wednesday’s announcement, more than 90% of those to whom Mr. Trump had pardoned or whose sentence he had commuted had a personal or political connection to him .

Wednesday’s announcement included a pardon for Mr Manafort, who was Mr Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, and was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud in 2018 – the first convictions obtained as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Mr Manafort was released from prison earlier this year over concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Stone, a self-proclaimed political ‘dirty trickster’, was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses, but Mr Trump commuted his sentence earlier this year four days before starting a 40-month sentence from prison. Grace goes even further by restoring full civil rights, including the right to vote.

Charles Kushner, meanwhile, pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax evasion and reprisals against a witness. The witness in question was her brother-in-law who was cooperating with investigators and whom Mr Kushner was accused of filming with a prostitute before sending the tape to his sister.

Senior Democrats have said they expect more pardons before Mr. Trump leaves office on January 20. The outgoing president is said to have spoken of forgiving his three children, the youngest Mr Kushner and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Some have even predicted that Mr. Trump might try to forgive himself in case he faces criminal charges once he becomes a private citizen next year, although such a move would be unprecedented and almost certainly do. facing a challenge before the Supreme Court.


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