The end of President Donald Trump’s time in office has been marked by a renewed interest in granting clemency – both from the President, and from members of his inner circle looking for protection before President-elect Joe Biden assumes office.
While Trump has continued to falsely insist publicly that he won the presidential election rather than Biden, the President’s pardon of former national security adviser Michael Flynn was a sign Trump understands his time in office is coming to a close. The President announced a wave of pardons in the days before Christmas, kicking off what is expected to be a flurry of pardons and commutations in the coming weeks as he concludes his term.
Trump associates including Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading the President’s long-shot legal battles to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and disenfranchise millions of voters in his role as Trump’s personal attorney, are making appeals to him in the hopes of obtaining pardons before he leaves office, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday.
And since the election, Trump has been discussing with advisers preemptively pardoning several people close to him, including his children, son-in-law and Giuliani, a separate source familiar confirmed to CNN.
Trump has often bypassed the DOJ’s Office of Pardon Attorney in deciding who gets granted clemency, instead choosing to act on the appeals from celebrities, conservative media or his Republican allies.
Here’s a look at some of the high-profile people to whom Trump granted clemency during his time in the White House:
Roger Stone: Trump announced on December 23 that he pardoned his longtime friend Stone, who was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress in part, prosecutors said, to protect the President. Earlier in the year, the President commuted Stone’s prison sentence days before he was set to report to a federal prison in Georgia.
Charles Kushner: Trump announced on December 23 that he pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The elder Kushner had served time over a decade ago after pleading guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness – his brother-in-law – and another count of lying to the Federal Election Commission.
Paul Manafort: Trump pardoned Manafort, his former 2016 campaign manager, on December 23. At the time, Manafort was serving the remainder of his 7.5 year prison sentence from home after being released earlier in the year due to concerns about potentially contracting the coronavirus. Manafort was convicted by a jury of tax and banking crimes in August 2018, then pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Margaret Hunter: Trump pardoned Margaret Hunter, the wife of former GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, on December 23, a day after he pardoned her husband. Margaret Hunter was sentenced in August to eight months of home confinement after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds.
George Papadopoulos: Trump announced on December 22 that he had granted a pardon to Papadopoulos, a former 2016 campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators during the Russia investigation.