WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued full pardons to his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, a real estate developer and the father of Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
The actions bring to nearly 50 the number of people whom Trump has granted clemency in the last two days, either by pardoning them or by commuting their sentences.
The pardons of Manafort and Roger Stone, who months earlier had his sentence commuted by Trump, underscore the president’s determination to use the power of his office in the final weeks to unravel the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and to come to the aid of associates he feels were wrongly pursued.
Trump's pardon of Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared, cites the support of a former U.S. attorney from Utah, rather than Chris Christie, the former U.S. attorney from New Jersey who prosecuted him for tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign donations.
The elder Kushner hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law and sent the recording to his sister in an alleged attempt to stop her from testifying against him in a civil interfamily lawsuit.
Kushner entered a plea deal following negotiations with Christie, where he was sentenced to two years in federal prison. He eventually served 14 months in an Alabama prison before spending the remainder of his sentence in a New Jersey halfway house.
Christie, who later served as New Jersey's governor, told PBS that the affair was "one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes" he ever prosecuted.
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Christie later wrote in his book that the younger Kushner resented Christie for prosecuting and sending his father to prison, writing that "[Jared said] this was a family matter to be handled by the family or the rabbis."
Charles Kushner was a longtime supporter of the Democratic Party before donating and hosting fundraising efforts for Trump in 2015. Kushner handed over control of his real estate empire to Jared, his oldest son who was 24 at the time.
As first reported in Haaretz, the family has donated tens of thousands of dollars in recent years to organizations and institutions in settlements in the West Bank through the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation.