President Donald Trump recently handed down a number of controversial pardons, before his term comes to a close, and at least one GOP Senator called the move "rotten to the core." This week, it was revealed that, among others, Trump pardoned his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and political adviser Roger Stone, both of whom went to trial and were convicted of multiple crimes by juries. In the statement released by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), the conservative lawmaker stated that "felons like Manafort and Stone" had "flagrantly and repeatedly violated the law and harmed Americans."
Notably, Trump also pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The younger Kushner is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Charles served two years in prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to 16 counts of tax evasion and retaliating against a witness. The Hill noted that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — a previous ally to Trump — prosecuted Kushner at the time, and referred to his crimes as being some of the most "loathsome" he'd ever had to deal with.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — who was the lead Democratic prosecutor during Trump’s impeachment trial — also issued a statement, very directly criticizing Manafort’s pardon. "During the Mueller investigation, Trump’s lawyer floated a pardon to Manafort," Schiff tweeted on Wednesday. "Manafort withdrew his cooperation with prosecutors, lied, was convicted, and then Trump praised him for not 'ratting.' Trump’s pardon now completes the corrupt scheme. Lawless until the bitter end."
.@MichaelCohen212 to CBS News: "I was not interested in Trump's pardons before, nor am I interested in it now because I truly believe that those who are accepting Trump's filth will have the stench of corruption following their name & their families' names for decades to come." pic.twitter.com/P5501DZ9yB— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 24, 2020
George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne Conway and the co-founder of anti-Trump conservative group The Lincoln Project, also commented, specifically commenting on the notion that Stone's pardon "is the most inexcusable and angering" so far. "The SSCI report makes clear that Trump lied in his written testimony to Mueller about his conversations with Stone," Conway wrote. "Stone stonewalled Mueller about those conversations, with Trump publicly cheering him on. The commutation and the pardon were the payoffs." In addition to Manafort and Stone, Trump also pardoned 24 other individuals.