President Donald Trump issued another batch of pardons and commutations on Wednesday, granting clemency to 29 people, including longtime ally Roger Stone, his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, and the father of his son-in-law.
The pardons come a day after Trump issued full pardons for 15 people, including former House Republicans, key figures in the Russia inquiry, and the four former Blackwater mercenaries who killed Iraqi civilians. He also commuted the sentences for five others.
The pardon for Manafort, who was convicted of federal financial crimes prosecuted by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, did not come as a surprise. The presidential clemency came as the former Trump campaign chair was in the middle of serving a seven-year sentence and represents the latest exercise of clemency power by Trump to undo the fruits of Mueller's efforts. In Wednesday's round, the president granted full pardons to 26 people and commuted part or all of the sentences for another three.
Trump's announcement. however, doesn't end Manafort's legal troubles. He still faces potential fraud charges in state court in New York, and Trump doesn't have the authority to provide clemency for state charges, only federal crimes.
"History will record that your Presidency accomplished more in 4 years than any of your modern-day predecessors."
After years of attacking — but failing to stop — Mueller's investigation, Trump is getting his revenge in his final weeks in office, wielding his executive clemency power to reward allies who either pleaded guilty or were convicted by a jury. Manafort is the fifth person who faced charges as a result of Mueller's investigation to receive clemency. The president on Tuesday pardoned former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and lawyer Alex van der Zwaan a few weeks after pardoning his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Over the summer, Trump commuted the sentence for Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser who had been sentenced to prison for lying to Congress during the Russia investigation, obstructing investigators, and tampering with witnesses. On Wednesday, Trump granted him a full pardon, completely clearing his record of the criminal charges.
Real estate developer Charles Kushner also received a full pardon on Wednesday. Kushner, the father of Trump's aide and son-in-law Jared, spent about a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and witness tampering. Notably, the White House announcement regarding the pardon did not mention his son among those who supported the decision.
Wednesday's pardons also included Margaret Hunter, the wife of former US Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was pardoned by the president on Tuesday. The California couple were arrested in 2018 after federal prosecutors accused them of spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on family vacations, theater tickets, and meals. They initially pleaded not guilty, but last summer Margaret agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and changed her plea to guilty. Several months later, her husband followed suit and resigned from Congress.