Donald Trump granted Wednesday, December 23 a new series of controversial presidential pardons, which immediately provoked outrage. The White House unveiled in the evening a list of nearly thirty pardons and other clemency measures.
Among the beneficiaries are Paul Manafort, former campaign manager of Donald Trump in 2016, and his former adviser Roger Stone: two personalities implicated in the investigation into Russian interference in the US presidential election which saw the election of Trump.
“Mr. President, my family and I humbly thank you for this presidential grace you have bestowed on me. Words are insufficient to express our gratitude ”, greeted Paul Manafort on Twitter. He was serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for various frauds uncovered as part of the investigation by Prosecutor Mueller, who had led two years of investigation into a possible collusion between Russia and the Trump team. Paul Manafort was placed under house arrest in May, due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
In July, the Republican president had already commuted the sentence of Mr. Stone, his longtime friend, convicted of trying to influence witnesses and lying to Congress as part of the Russian investigation.
“Gang of criminals”
Donald Trump has been accused of once again abusing the right of pardon: at the end of November, he had already pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, also implicated in the same case. “Trump has just pardoned another gang of criminals from his gang”, denounced the elected Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett on Twitter.
Jared Kushner’s father, his young son-in-law and adviser, is also on the list published by the US executive. Charles Kushner was convicted in 2004 for tax evasion. “Everyone had anticipated this foul-smelling outpouring of pardons and mercy measures for the apparatchiks and allies of Donald Trump. This is not surprising news. But this spectacle is still revolting. And it is far from over! “, lambasted David Axelrod, former adviser to Barack Obama.
The day before, the President of the United States had already pardoned or granted clemency to fifteen people, including George Papadopoulos, one of his former advisers, who had pleaded guilty in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Alex van der Zwann, son-in-law of Russian billionaire German Khan, who was implicated in this investigation.
Also pardoned were former U.S. service members – Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard – who were convicted of killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007.
Two vets in a row
The Republican president had already created astonishment Tuesday evening by rejecting the support plan of some 900 billion dollars adopted the day before by Congress after months of difficult discussions. Calling it ” shame “, he called for an increase in the amount of checks sent to families from $ 600 to $ 2,000 per adult.
Democrats immediately took the president at his word. The pressure is therefore now on Republican parliamentarians, who until then wanted to limit the amount of aid, highlighting the need to control the budget deficit. Congress must meet urgently Thursday morning to try to find a solution before Christmas.
Donald Trump also vetoed the United States defense budget on Wednesday, adopted by Congress with an overwhelming majority, confirming his intention to shake up all political standards and his own Republican camp to the end.
This $ 740.5 billion budget was approved two weeks ago by the Senate and House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority, which allows them, if most elected officials confirm their initial vote, to bypass the presidential opposition. by adopting it again by qualified majority.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the president of using “His last hours in power to sow chaos” by this “Irresponsible act”, and announced that the deputies would return from vacation on Monday to “Override the veto”. Four weeks before the inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden, it would be a first, and a stain in Donald Trump’s only term in the White House.