US President Trump may pardon 63-year-old woman after meeting Kim Kardashian
New Delhi : It is likely that US President Donald Trump may pardon Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman serving a life sentence. It has been learnt that Trump is privately telling aides that he is strongly considering forgiving the accused after meeting with Kim Kardashian to discuss her case, as he becomes increasingly fixated on his ability to issue pardons.
The pardon for Johnson could come as early as Tuesday, and the paperwork was being finalized Tuesday morning, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Trump's aides and associates see Kardashian's celebrity imprimatur as crucial and alluring to the president.
But the possible pardon of Johnson has caused anxiety in the West Wing, with top advisers - including chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn - disturbed by the process, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
Kelly has reviewed Johnson's background and her 1996 conviction; she was sentenced to life in prison on drug possession and money laundering charges and is not convinced she deserves a pardon, an administration official said. And McGahn has also argued against the possible pardon as an unnecessary action by the president, a second official said.
Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser who helped arrange the meeting with Kardashian in the Oval Office last week, has heavily pushed for a pardon for Johnson within the West Wing, these officials said.
Kushner attended the meeting between Trump and Kardashian, and having recently had his security clearance restored, has been described as newly emboldened by White House aides.
A White House spokesperson said Monday evening that the administration had no current announcements to make on pardons, and declined to discuss the specifics of ongoing deliberations.
Trump has recently become powerfully focused on his ability to grant pardons, asking his lawyers to compile a list of candidates. A White House official this week said Trump is "obsessed" with pardons, describing them as the president's new "favorite thing" to talk about. He may sign a dozen or more in the next two months, this person added.