President Donald Trump announced 26 new pardons on Wednesday evening, including two former members of his presidential campaign and Jared Kushner’s father, Charles.
Mr. Trump used his clemency powers for the second time in 24 hours on criminals who are loyalists, well-connected or part of his family. The President seems to be signaling he is rewarding his friends and allies who remain loyal to him as he gets ready to exit office next month.
Manafort and Stone were both indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted by juries of multiple crimes. Manafort admitted his crimes and initially agreed to cooperate with Mueller before lying to prosecutors.
Stone never cooperated after lying to Congress to protect Mr. Trump and his sentence for threatening a witness was commuted by the President earlier this year. He pleaded guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness and another count of lying to the Federal Election Commission.
Kushner hatched a revenge plot in 2003 to target his brother-in-law, William Schulder. Kushner hired a prostitute to lure Schulder into having sex while being secretly recorded before sending the video file to Kushner’s sister and Schulder’s wife.
The news of the pardons by Mr. Trump comes just 24 hours after he pardoned 20 others, including former campaign aide George Papadopoulos.
Democrats responded to the news with anger and disgust as some called for the pardon power to be scrapped entirely.
“It’s time to remove the pardon power from the Constitution,” said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said the pardons are “just the tip of the iceberg of the damage Donald Trump will do to our democracy in his remaining days as president.”