Donald Trump issued another wave of pardons on Wednesday, granting clemency to his former campaign chief Paul Manafort, his former adviser Roger Stone and to Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
They were among the 26 pardons that the White House disclosed on Wednesday. In addition, Trump commuted the sentences of three others.
The White House released the list shortly after Trump left for Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, FL, for the holidays.
Stone and Manafort were among those convicted as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Stone, the self-described campaign “dirty trickster,” was convicted last year on charges of witness tampering and making false statements, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison. But in July, before he was to start his prison term, Trump commuted his sentence.
Manafort, who chaired Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was serving a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence, but was released to home confinement in May. He had been convicted of tax and bank fraud and plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and witness tampering.
Stone long vowed that he would not cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, and that the probe of Russia’s ties to Trump’s presidential campaign was a hoax. Manafort did plead guilty to some charges and was to cooperate with Mueller’s team, but prosecutors later said that he breached a plea agreement by lying to them.
While Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to show that there was a conspiracy between Russian interests and the Trump campaign, he left it to Congress to determine whether the president obstructed justice. Mueller also made it clear that while he was not bringing charges against the president, he also was not exonerating him, either.
Kushner pled guilty in 2004 to charges that included tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering. He was sentenced to two years in prison. The prosecutor in the case was Chris Christie, a Trump ally who has continued to defend his action.
“Mr. Kushner pled guilty. He admitted the crimes,” Christie said in an appearance on Firing Line in 2019. “And so what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor?” The case unfolded when William Schulder, the husband of Kushner’s sister Esther alerted authorities that he was making illegal campaign donations. Christie reminded that in the midst of the investigation, Kushner hired a prostitute to seduce Schulder. Kushner then videotaped their encounter, and sent the tape to his sister in an “attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a Grand Jury.”
Trump issued a wave of pardons on Tuesday as well, in a list that included former congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and two other figures of Mueller’s investigation, George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan. Also pardoned were four Blackwater contractors who were implicated in the 2007 killings of 14 Iraqi civilians.
Among the others in the latest round of pardons was Christopher Wade, who pleaded guilty to two years probation for cyber crimes. Among those who urged his pardon was Ike Perlmutter, the chairman and CEO emeritus of Marvel Entertainment.