Jail Break! Trump Pardons Manafort And Stone In Latest Clemency Blitz

on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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The White House on Wednesday night announced President Trump’s latest slew of pardon recipients, which included Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner.

Trump had previously commuted the 40-month prison sentence Roger Stone received for lying to Congress during its Russia investigation. On Wednesday, Trump gave his longtime pal a full pardon.

Manafort — who had been prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller — had been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for various financial crimes and for unregistered foreign lobbying. He had been allowed to leave prison and serve his sentence on house arrest during the COVID-19 outbreak due to health concerns.

Kushner was prosecuted by Chris Christie when the former New Jersey governor was a U.S. attorney for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The prosecution had reportedly caused longstanding tension between Jared Kushner and Christie, who was initially exiled from Trump’s inner circle after Trump’s election.

Additionally, Trump pardoned Margaret Hunter, wife of Duncan Hunter, the former House Republican whom Trump pardoned on Tuesday. Margaret Hunter had pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in the campaign finance scandal that also ensnared her husband.

In the clemency spree announced Wednesday, Trump granted pardons to 26 individuals and commuted the sentences of three others. Trump’s lengthy pardon list, like Tuesday’s before it, included lots of politically-connected Republicans and Trump allies.

John Tate and Jesse Benton, for example, were aides on former Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) presidential campaign in 2012, and were found guilty in 2016 of public corruption charges related to a conspiracy to bribe an Iowa state senator to endorse Paul.

The pardon was supported by Lee Goldman, the former Federal Election Commission chairman — and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron’s son and one of Trump’s top allies in the U.S. Senate.

John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson, who also received pardons, were part of the same fraud scheme as Conrad Black — the author of a glowing pro-Trump biography and the recipient of his own presidential pardon.

Trump’s list also reflects a particular aspect of the culture war he’s taken to waging with his pardon pen: The crimes of law enforcement officers who’ve been convicted of various sorts of brutality, and who’ve managed to catch his attention via the conservative media pipeline.

Stephanie Mohr, a former police K9 officer who was pardoned Wednesday, was found in 2001 to have violated the civil rights of a homeless man after she released her dog on him despite his surrender. Starting earlier this year, she launched a pardon campaign and appeared several times on fringe outlets like OANN and Newsmax.

Gary Brugman fits a similar mold. Brugman, a former Border Patrol officer who received a pardon Wednesday, was found guilty in 2005 of violating the civil rights of an undocumented man by kicking and punching him during an arrest at the border. On top of an all-star list of conservative politicians and media personalities that endorsed his pardon, the White House noted that “numerous members of the U.S. Border Patrol” were behind Brugman as well.

This post has been updated. 

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