A second wave of presidential pardons from President Trump came on Wednesday night. The president issued 26 different pardons, most notably to his 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort, Republican political operative Roger Stone, and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Manafort, who had been convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and witness tampering after pleading guilty to both charges, had served only a few months of his 7-year prison sentence before gaining early release due to COVID-19 concerns.
Manafort later thanked Trump on Twitter, first saying "words cannot fully convey" his gratitude, before later complimenting Trump's tenure as president.
Stone had been convicted in 2019 of lying under oath to Congress, and Kushner had been imprisoned for 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering, and illegal campaign donations.
Kushner had also engaged in entrapment, hiring a prostitute to lure his brother-in-law into a sexual liaison, which was secretly recorded and sent to the man's wife, Kushner's sister. The episode was meant to intimidate the man into not testifying against Kushner in the case over his illegal campaign contributions.
The wave of pardons was met with immediate criticism by some fellow Republicans, like Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Calling it "rotten to the core," Sasse's office blasted the move.
"[Trump used] his constitutional power to issue pardons to another tranche of felons like Manafort and Stone who flagrantly and repeatedly violated the law and harmed Americans," Sasse's office said.