- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

President Trump signaled Thursday he may pardon former members of his election campaign, flexing his executive power while under fire for recently commuting Roger Stone’s sentence.

Mr. Trump indicated during the final moments of a television interview that he was open to clearing the criminal convictions of other allies found guilty of federal crimes.

Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity, Mr. Trump complained that the federal government never should have opened investigations into members of his 2016 presidential campaign.

“Would you consider pardons for the people involved?” Mr. Hannity asked the president.

“I’ve looked at a lot of different people, they have been treated extremely unfairly, and I think I probably would, yes,” Mr. Trump replied.

Mr. Trump did not mention any former campaign members by name, but several pleaded guilty or were convicted of charges brought as a result of the government’s probe of the presidential race.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI, although the Department of Justice later dropped its case against him before he could be sentenced; Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, was convicted of fraud charges and is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence from home due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic; and George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide, also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and served two weeks in prison.

Stone, Mr. Trump’s longtime confidant and former campaign adviser, was set to begin serving a 40-month federal prison term last week but was spared by the president commuting his sentence days before it was scheduled to start.

Democrats controlling the House Judiciary Committee have subsequently considered legislation that could potentially curtail the president’s executive authority if passed.

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