Donald Trump announced 26 new pardons on Wednesday, including his longtime adviser Roger Stone, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and adviser Charles Kushner; also the father of his son-in-law.
This new wave of pardons comes shortly after Trump pardoned 15 people and bestowed commutations on five others on Tuesday night. The pardon of four former guards for Blackwater has especially mobilized criticism against the outgoing President. Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted six years ago for the massacre of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 17 others.
Manafort was convicted in 2018 in an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, while Stone was convicted of lying to Congress. Charles Kushner was sentenced to two years in prison in 2004 for charges including tax evasion and campaign finance offences among others.
“The victims’ families finally saw some measure of justice when these men were convicted in 2014 and sentenced to prison. Now justice has been undone by the stroke of a pen,” Sarah Holewinski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch said regarding the pardons.
Former US presidents have also taken advantage of their clemency powers, with George Bush an Bill Clinton serving as prime examples. However, critics argue that Trump has exceeded even his predecessors.
“Christmas came early for convicted criminals with personal ties to Trump and who serve his political interests,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement.