President Donald Trump handed down 26 more pardons and commutations on Wednesday, including two of the most notorious figures in former special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation, The New York Times reports.
Trump granted pardons to former campaign chief Paul Manafort and longtime adviser Roger Stone. He also pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The list of pardons also included Margaret Hunter, the estranged wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was pardoned by Trump a day earlier.
Trump’s legal team discussed the potential of a pardon with Manafort during the investigation as he considered cooperating with prosecutors.
Manafort was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for a decade-long financial fraud scheme for his work in Ukraine.
Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstructing the House Russia investigation, and witness tampering. Trump commuted his sentence earlier this year.
Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to two counts of tax evasion, one count of lying to the Federal Election Commission, and for setting up his brother with a prostitute and then sending the tape to his sister to keep them from cooperating with investigators.
Other controversial acts of clemency:
Trump also commuted the sentence of Mark Shapiro and Irving Stitsky, who were sentenced to 85 years in prison for their roles in a real estate investment fraud scheme.
He also pardoned a former police officer who served 10 years for siccing her dog on a burglary suspect and two former associates of former media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted of fraud in 2007 and pardoned by Trump in 2019.
The pardons came down on Attorney General Bill Barr’s last day in office.
More pardons expected:
Trump, who already pardoned other figures in the Russia investigation, is expected to issue more pardons before he leaves office.
Trump has reportedly discussed issuing preemptive pardons to his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, his family members, and Kushner.
Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School, said that 60 of the 65 pardons and commutations handed down by Trump prior to Wednesday’s batch all went to people who had a “personal tie” to Trump or “helped his political aims.”
“This is rotten to the core,” said Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.