U.S. President Donald Trump on December 23 granted pardons to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former adviser Roger Stone, sweeping away the most important convictions under the long-running Russia election probe. This was reported by Reuters agency.
Trump also issued a pardon for Charles Kushner, a real estate developer and the father of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Trump, taking advantage of a right granted by the Constitution only to the president, has issued two groups of pardons in as many days, and more are anticipated as Trump faces the end of his presidency on Jan. 20.
In total, Trump issued on Wednesday pardons to 26 individuals and commuted part or all of the sentences of an additional three people. A commutation removes the punishment but leaves the conviction in place.
Of special interest for Trump has been attacking the results of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, a case Trump repeatedly dismissed as a political witch hunt.
Besides Manafort and Stone, Trump has pardoned two other major figures from the Russia probe, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former adviser George Papadopoulos.
The Manafort pardon spared the long-time Republican operative from serving the bulk of his 7-1/2-year prison term.
Manafort, 70, was among the first in Trump’s inner circle to face charges brought by Mueller as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.