World News – US – Trump gives grace to more allies, including Manafort, Stone and Charles Kushner

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It was the second wave of pardons and commutations by the president in two days that showed his willingness to use his power aggressively for loyalists.

President Trump on Wednesday showed mercy, wiping out convictions and verdicts, on a new group of loyalists as he aggressively used his power to override courts, juries and prosecutors and apply his own standard of justice for his allies.

One pardon was a family member, Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Two other pardons refused to collaborate with prosecutors in connection with the Special Representative’s Russia investigation: Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign chairman, and Roger J.. . Stone Jr. . , his longtime informal advisor and friend.

They were the best-known names in a series of 26 pardons and three commutations that the White House named after Mr.. . Trump went to his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. , For the holidays.

Also on the list released on Wednesday was Margaret Hunter, the estranged wife of former agent Duncan D. . Hunter, Republican of California. Both pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds for personal expenses.

Mr. . Hunter was led by Mr.. . Trump on Tuesday as part of a first pre-Christmas wave of pardons to 20 convicts, more than half of whom did not meet the Justice Department’s guidelines for examining pardons or commutations. They included a former Blackwater security guard who was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 2007 murder of 17 Iraqi civilians.

Of the 65 pardons and commutations that Mr.. Trump had granted before Wednesday, 60 went to petitioners who had a personal relationship with Mr. Trump or who helped his political goals, according to a chart by Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith. While there are no similar numbers for previous presidents, legal experts say those presidents have given a far lower percentage to those who could help them personally and politically.

The apologies to mr. Manafort and Mr. . Stein on the same day will prick especially for the former special advisor Robert S.. Müller III and his team.

Mr. . Trump’s attorney at the time, John Dowd, is supposed to discuss the pardon with attorneys for Mr.. . Manafort in 2017. At the time was mr. Manafort considered working with prosecutors who believed, if there had been a connection between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, that Mr.. . Manafort or Mr. . Stone would have known about it. Mr. Trump later expressed his express support for Mr.. Stone’s refusal to speak to investigators.

Neither man has ever fully cooperated with prosecutors despite being guilty of making investigators believe that the private discussion of pardons and public statements made by Mr.. Trump may have affected their ability to uncover the facts.

The apologies for Mr.. . Manafort and Mr. . Stone reflected Mr.. . Trump’s complaints about the Mueller investigation relating to the « Russian collusion fraud », the « prosecutor’s misconduct » and the « injustice ». ”

Mr. . The 71-year-old Manafort had been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for his role in a decade-long, multi-million dollar financial fraud program for his work in the former Soviet Union.

Mr. . Stone, 68, whose 40-month sentence was previously served by Mr.. . Trump kept his innocence and insisted that there was prosecution wrongdoing. He was convicted on seven counts of lied to Congress, manipulated witnesses and obstructed the House’s investigation into possible coordination of the Trump campaign with Russia.

Mr. . Kushner’s pardon was one of the most anticipated of the Trump presidency. The father-in-law of the President’s elder daughter, Ivanka Trump, Mr.. . Kushner’s prison sentence was a burning event in his family’s life.

Mr. . In 2004, 66-year-old Kushner pleaded guilty to 16 tax evasion cases, a single case of retaliation against a federal witness and a case in which he lied to the federal election commission. He served two years in prison before being released in 2006.

The witness he retaliated against was his brother-in-law, whose wife, Mr.. . Kushner’s sister worked with federal officials on a campaign funding investigation against Mr.. . Kushner. Mr. Kushner was accused of videotaping his brother-in-law with the prostitute and then sending them to his sister.

The case was followed by the then U. S.. . Attorney Chris Christie, a longtime Trump friend who later became New Jersey Governor. Mr. Christie was recently critical of Mr.. . Trump’s efforts to allege widespread fraud in the 2020 election results without providing evidence.

Jared Kushner worked at the White House on overhaul efforts in the criminal justice field, partly because, allies said, he was marked by his father’s time behind bars. And he had a strained relationship with Mr.. . Christie helped him for years, his role in making the transition almost immediately after Mr.. . Trump’s surprise election victory in 2016.

At the pardon of Mr.. Manafort and Mr. . Stone, sir. Trump continued to be involved in the work of the Mueller investigation, which the President and his outgoing Attorney General William P. . Barr, have attacked for the past two years. Mr. Trump had already pardoned or commuted the sentences of three others, those of Mr.. . Mueller’s office, two of them on Tuesday.

The President has long complained that the investigation is a « witch hunt » and a « joke » and pressured Mr.. Barr, some of the officials he blamed, including Joseph R. to prosecute. Biden Jr. . , former President Barack Obama and James B. . Come on, the F. . B.. . I. Director, sir. Trump fired.

Mr. . Barr, whose last day in office was Wednesday, repeated mr. Trump’s criticism of the investigation and ordering an investigation into her origins, but to the President’s frustration, he didn’t prosecute anyone for it prior to last month’s election.

Mr. . Barr had also tried to reduce the judgment recommendation for Mr.. Stein and to reverse Michael T’s confessions of guilt. Flynn, the President’s first national security adviser.

But Mr.. . Barr assisted the prosecution of Mr.. Stone while mr. Trump commuted Mr.. . Stones’ verdict in July and pardoned Mr.. . Flynn last month.

The president has long publicly questioned the prospect of pardons for employees involved in an investigation. Critics argued that this was an attempt to convince them of any violations by Dr. . Trump card.

President Trump has discussed possible pardons that could test the limits of his constitutional powers to waive criminal liability. Here is some clarity about his pardon ability.

Even when he agreed to work with the special adviser’s office, Mr.. Manafort’s principal attorney, Kevin M. . Downing, went on to inform Mr.. Trump’s personal attorneys, an unusual arrangement that raises questions about which side Mr.. . Manafort was on.

Some from mr. Downing’s public statements also appeared to be aimed at generating sympathy for Mr.. . Manafort from the west wing. Mr. Downing repeatedly said that prosecutors in the case had no evidence that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 elections, although possible links to Moscow sabotage were outside the purview of the trial.

Mr. . Trump repeatedly expressed his condolences to Mr.. Manafort, who describes him as a brave man who has been mistreated by the special envoy’s office. According to Mr.. . Manafort was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in a conspiracy case in March 2019. The president said: “I feel very bad for Paul Manafort. ”

Mr. . Manafort was released early from prison in May due to the coronavirus pandemic and instead locked up at home.

Other presidents have made extensive use of grace in their final days in office, sometimes benefiting political allies or people close to them.

President Bill Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of more than 175 people on his last day in office in 2001, including his half-brother Roger Clinton, who had been convicted of drug charges, and his former Whitewater business associate, Susan H.. . McDougal, imprisoned for refusing to work with Ken Starr’s team investigating the president.

But Mr.. . Clinton was particularly badly criticized for apologizing to Marc Rich, a financier who fled the US to avoid tax burdens, and whose ex-wife donated large sums to Mr.. Clinton’s future presidential library.

Among those who are particularly angry at the Lord’s pardon. Rudolph W was rich. . Giuliani, who had been the U. S.. . Lawyer whose office is Mr.. Rich and is now the President’s personal lawyer. « He never paid a price, » said Mr.. . Giuliani said in 2001 about mr. rich.

After President George Bush lost his re-election in 1992, he pardoned former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. . Weinberger and five other people who were attacked by prosecutors in the Iran-Contra scandal. Mr. Bush was convinced that a new charge against Mr.. Weinberger, who questioned the president’s report on his own actions, released days before the election, helped seal his defeat. Independent attorney Lawrence E. . Walsh accused Mr.. . Bush of a « cover-up ». ”

Such actions were sharply criticized at the time as abuse of power and in Mr.. . Clinton’s case was even examined for signs of wrongdoing.

However, a president’s pardon under the Constitution is extensive and usually does not require the approval of any other part of government. Some legal scholars have argued that the corrupt use of pardon – for example, in response to a bribe or to obstruct justice – could be a crime that has never been investigated.

The small number of presidential pardons given to those who had not been convicted was usually tied to a national event that a president wanted to bring behind the country, like the Nixon presidency or the Vietnam War.

Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner, Special Advisor

World News – USA – Trump gives more allies, including Manafort, Stone and Charles, Grace Kushner

Ref: https://www.nytimes.com

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