President Donald Trump pardons more allies, including Jared Kushner's father, in second day of clemencies

Pardons appear to be an attempt to undermine results of the special counsel Russia inquiry

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. Trump's surprise attack Tuesday on Congress's historic coronavirus relief package left aid for millions of Americans hanging in the balance as the pandemic continues to batter the nation. Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg

US President Donald Trump issued pardons and sentence commutations for another 29 people, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, associate Roger Stone, and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law.

This brings the number of people to 49 who Mr Trump, in the past two days, granted clemency either through pardons or sentence commutations.

Manafort was convicted as part of the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. The president previously commuted the criminal sentence for Stone, who was convicted of lying under oath to politicians.

It is the second list of pardons Mr Trump issued in two days and comes just after Mr Trump arrived in Palm Beach, Florida, for a holiday.

In all, he announced full pardons to 26 individuals and commuted part or all of the sentences of an another three people on Wednesday.

Mr Trump's Manafort pardon spared the longtime Republican operative from serving the bulk of his seven-and-a-half-year prison term.

Manafort, 70, was among the first in Mr Trump's inner circle to face charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Stone was convicted in November 2019 by a Washington jury of lying under oath to politicians also investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr Trump commuted his sentence in July, a day before he was due to begin serving a term of three years and four months.

The the two men's pardons underscore the president’s determination to use the power of his office in the final weeks to unravel the results of Mr Mueller’s investigation and to come to the aid of associates he feels were wrongly pursued.

He has now pardoned four people convicted in that investigation.

Mr Kushner, father of Mr Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and making unlawful campaign donations.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump pardoned two other people convicted in Mr Mueller’s investigation, including former campaign associate George Papadopoulos.

Former members of Congress who were early supporters and former government contractors convicted in the killings of Iraqi civilians were also among the other pardons announced on Tuesday.

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