Trump pardons more allies, including Kushner's father

Trump gives clemency to more allies, including Manafort, Stone and Charles Kushner

The pardons to Manafort and Stone on the same day will be particularly stinging for the former special counsel Robert Mueller and his team

Donald Trump and Melania Trump. Credit: AFP

President Donald Trump doled out clemency to a new group of loyalists on Wednesday, wiping away convictions and sentences as he aggressively employed his power to override courts, juries and prosecutors to apply his own standard of justice for his allies.

One recipient of a pardon was a family member, Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Two others who were pardoned declined to cooperate with prosecutors in connection with the special counsel’s Russia investigation: Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign chairman, and Roger Stone, his longtime informal adviser and friend.

They were the most prominent names in a batch of 26 pardons and three commutations disclosed by the White House.

Also on the list released on Wednesday was Margaret Hunter, the estranged wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. Both of them had pleaded guilty to charges of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses.

Duncan Hunter was pardoned by Trump on Tuesday, as part of a first pre-Christmas wave of grants of clemency to 20 convicts, more than half of whom did not meet the Justice Department guidelines for consideration of pardons or commutations. They included a former Blackwater guard sentenced to life in prison for his role in the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Of the 65 pardons and commutations that Trump had granted before Wednesday, 60 have gone to petitioners who had a personal tie to Trump or who helped his political aims, according to a tabulation by the Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith.

The pardons to Manafort and Stone on the same day will be particularly stinging for the former special counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

Neither man ever fully cooperated with prosecutors despite entering guilty pleas, leaving investigators to believe that private discussion of pardons and public statements by Trump may have compromised their ability to uncover the facts.

The president has long publicly dangled the prospect of pardons for associates caught up in investigations in a way that critics argued amounted to a bid to convince them to keep quiet about any wrongdoing they may have witnessed by Trump.