The Kushner-led group apparently has been meeting since late last year to discuss a revamped pardon system in the White House, an official familiar with the matter told the Washington Post.
Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who served on Trump’s impeachment defense team, is also playing a significant role, vetting applications for potential pardon recipients, according to sources. At least two administration officials said Kushner had personally reviewed applications with White House lawyers before presenting them to Trump for final approval. Kushner had previously voiced his support for the idea of putting the White House more directly in control of the pardoning process instead of the Justice Department.
Trump is inclined to grant more pardons before facing voters in November, one official said, adding that this is something the president likes to do. He added that the president is unfazed by criticism over his decisions to grant clemency, including to former Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich and financier Michael Milken.
The new clemency initiative could include pardoning former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, who has been convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress. US President Donald Trump had also said on Thursday that he wanted to see Stone exonerated and believed the chances were high for such an outcome.
The Justice Department recommended seven to nine years in prison for Stone, after which Trump tweeted his anger, calling the recommendations “unfair” and “horrible.” On Thursday, US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison. Stone was given 24 months of probation and ordered to pay $20,000.