Trump pardons Manafort and Stone

U.S. President Donald Trump has swept away the top convictions made in the Russia probe after he pardoned two more allies, ex-campaign manger Paul Manafort and close associate Roger Stone on Wednesday.

It was the second wave of pardons and commutations in as many days as Trump faces the end of his term.

He also gave clemency to Charles Kushner, father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Manafort and Stone had both declined to cooperate with the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

The day before, Trump pardoned two other major figures in the investigation, Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, and George Papodapoulos, a former adviser.

Manafort was the first in Trump's inner circle to face charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia probe. Trump's pardon relieved the bulk of his 7 and a half year sentence.

Manafort tweeted a statement in response: "Words cannot fully convey how grateful we are."

The Manhattan district attorney's office, which has been trying to prosecute Manafort in New York for mortgage fraud and other alleged crimes, said it would continue to pursue an appeal for its case, which was dismissed on double jeopardy grounds.

Stone was convicted in November 2019 for lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian election interference.

Earlier this year, Trump commuted Stone's almost 3 and a half year sentence, just a day before Stone was due to serve the time.

As for Charles Kushner - he pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax evasion, witness tampering and making unlawful campaign donations.

Former Trump advisor and governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, prosecuted Kushner's case.

In 2019, Christie told CNN that Kushner's case was "one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes" he'd prosecuted.

During the case, Charles Kushner admitted to smearing his brother-in-law, who had cooperated with prosecutors by hiring a prostitute to have sex with him in a motel room, then sending a secretly recorded video of the encounter to the man's wife, Charles Kushner's own sister.

More pardons are anticipated as Trump's term in office approaches its end.