Donald Trump is reportedly considering pardoning up to a dozen more people including celebrity felons despite criticism that his approach is driven by political interests.
The US president pardoned a well-known right-wing commentator this week and floated helping others including Martha Stewart, the TV star and lifestyle mogul.
A White House official quoted anonymously by The Washington Post said as many as 12 new pardons could be coming, saying: “There are going to be more.”
Mr Trump has faced questions over the people he selects, given that many of the convictions were overseen by former justice officials who have since become critics.
An ally of the president has also suggested the move sends a clear message to Trump campaign figures facing prosecution – that he has the legal power to pardon anyone.
Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative firebrand who was convicted for campaign-finance charges linked to political donations, was pardoned by Mr Trump on Thursday.
His writing and film-making has included fierce criticism of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The president said “nobody asked me to do it” as he justified the decision, adding: “I’ve always felt he was very unfairly treated.”
The US president also floated commuting sentences, which means reducing the punishment for crimes, for two other well-known American figures: Stewart and Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor.
Stewart was prosecuted for insider trading by James Comey, who went on to become the FBI director who Mr Trump fired last year and has since clashed with fiercely.
Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison for charged relating to the attempted sale of Barack Obama’s former US Senate seat after he became president.
Both have appeared on The Apprentice, the television show Mr Trump created, in some form.
Roger Stone, a long-time associate of Mr Trump, said the president had sent a clear message to his allies being looked into by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling.
“The special counsel has awesome powers, as you know, but the president has even more awesome powers,” Mr Stone told The Washington Post.
Mr Trump’s approach has also been unorthodox as often those pardoned have not gone through the traditional process of being scrutinised by the Justice Department.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/01/donald-trump-considering-dozen-pardons-despite-criticism-picks/