Fueled by President Donald Trump’s new obsession with presidential pardons, the White House is preparing the paperwork to pardon at least 30 people, CNN reported Wednesday.
Trump has reportedly asked his staff to produce a list of potential candidates, as outside allies take advantage of his new hobby, suggesting people he should add to it, according to CNN.
One person on that list: Alice Marie Johnson, the 63-year-old grandmother who is serving a life sentence in prison for a non-violent drug offense. Kim Kardashian visited the White House last week to talk with Trump about a potential pardon for Johnson, which could happen as early as Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.
For Trump, Kardashian’s support of Johnson is key given Trump’s penchant for considering the pardoning of celebrities like Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, also a former TV personality. Trump even suggested he could pardon himself earlier this week.
According to a White House official who spoke with the Post, Trump is “obsessed” with pardons, which this person characterized as Trump’s “favorite thing” to discuss with aides. But not all of the West Wing is on board with Trump’s new pardoning proclivity. Chief of Staff John Kelly and a top White House lawyer are reportedly pushing back against Trump’s interest in pardoning Johnson, the Post reported.
Kelly has reportedly researched Johnson’s conviction and doesn’t think she deserves the President’s interference, while White House counsel Don McGahn characterized the pardon as “unnecessary,” in the Post’s words.
Strategists think Trump’s passion for pardoning stems from an effort to keep former campaign officials and associates from cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, by messaging that he has the authority to pardon them.