This content is not available in your region

Trump has assembled team to recommend and vet candidates for clemency

Access to the comments Comments
By Rebecca Shabad and Peter Alexander  with NBC News Politics
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on, Feb. 19, 2020, in Phoenix.   -   Copyright  Evan Vucci AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is considering issuing additional pardons and commutations and has assembled a team of advisers to recommend and vet candidates for clemency, a White House official confirmed Thursday.

The process is normally handled by the Department of Justice, but the White House has taken the lead, with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, heading the effort, and is joined by White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

The Washington Post first reported Wednesday night that Trump had put together this team, which the report said is basically an informal task force of at least a half-dozen allies of the president. According to the report, the group has been meeting since late last year.

This comes as speculation swirls around whether Trump will pardon his longtime ally Roger Stone who is expected to be sentenced by a federal judge on Thursday. Early in the morning, Trump tweeted a video clip from a segment on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News that suggested the president is considering pardoning Stone.

Last week, the Justice Department announced its decision to reduce the recommended sentence for Stone of seven to nine years in prison, asking Judge Amy Berman Jackson of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to reduce the sentence after Trump himself called the proposal "a miscarriage of justice."

Earlier this week, Trump went on a pardon spree, granting clemency to 11 people. The list included commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, pardoning former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, pardoning former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and pardoning former junk bond trader Michael Milken.