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Trump's Pardons Are the Talk of the Town

White House is preparing paperwork for at least 30 more pardons
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2018 2:28 PM CDT
Kim Kardashian West to Meet With Alice Marie Johnson
This photo shows President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Moon Township, Pa., on March 10, 2018, and Kim Kardashian West at the NBCUniversal Network 2017 Upfront in New York on May 15, 2017. Trump commuted the sentence Wednesday, June 6, of a woman serving a life sentence for drug offenses whose...   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – After Kim Kardashian West met with President Trump to plead the case of Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandma jailed for life over a first-time, non-violent drug offense, Trump commuted Johnson's life sentence. Now, Kardashian will meet Johnson for the first time as early as this week, reports TMZ. Getting the phone call from Kardashian telling her that she would soon be free "was the most incredible day of my life,” Johnson told CBS after she was released from an Alabama prison Wednesday night. She is now back home in Tennessee after 21 years behind bars. Johnson’s release came after weeks of talks between Kardashian, attorney Shawn Holley, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner about the case. Other presidential pardons appear to be in the works. Here’s the latest.

  • Dozens more? CNN reports that the White House is preparing paperwork for at least 30 more pardons. No details on the names, but Trump allies are reportedly advocating for people they deem worthy.

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  • First person: Johnson wrote about her case in 2016 for CNN and updated the story in May. She writes, “Some refer to prison as a place where hope dies. Some days I've found that to be almost right. But at the beginning of my time here I made a pact—that I wouldn't give up hope. Each time that I've come close, God has restored my faith.”
  • John Cornyn weighs in: The Senate majority whip makes a pitch to pardon former CIA director David Petraeus. “Well, I think Gen. Petraeus is an incredible patriot, and helped guide our country during a very difficult time in Iraq and basically pulled a rabbit out of a hat there,” Cornyn said on Hugh Hewitt’s show, per Politico.
  • Opinion: Pardoning Johnson was the right thing to do, but the process was all wrong, argues German Lopez at Vox. The decision was based on the intervention of a celebrity, rather than any particular rational process. The president appears to be using pardons as a way to reward friends and political allies. Case in point: his pardons of conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza and former sheriff Joe Arpaio.
  • Pam Anderson has an idea: The Canadian-American actress and model told TMZ that given a chance, she would argue for the pardon of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She sees Assange as a misunderstood person, rather than a criminal hacker, and has been advocating for him for years.
  • How Trump compares: Trump has signed two commutations and five pardons since taking office, reports Quartz. Neither Barack Obama, George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton issued any pardons or commutations in their first two years as presidents.
  • Need a pardon? The Washington Post offers a tongue-in-cheek flowchart on how to obtain a pardon from Trump.
(Read more presidential pardon stories.)

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