Jun 6, 2018

Scoop: Trump has commuted Alice Johnson’s life sentence

Kim Kardashian West championed Alice Johnson's cause at the White House last week. Photo: The White House

President Trump has signed a commutation for Alice Johnson, currently serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, according to a source with direct knowledge. The Washington Post first reported last night that he had been considering pardoning Johnson.

The details: Johnson's cause was championed last week at the White House by Kim Kardashian West. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who pushed for Johnson's pardon, had been in contact with Kardashian West over the past several months on the issue. Per a source familiar, White House counsel Don McGahn is skeptical of the merits of pardoning Johnson.

The big picture: This is part of a broader effort led by Jared Kushner to highlight the issue of prison reform — particularly focused on nonviolent offenders.

More about Johnson's crime, per Mic, who first reported on Kardashian West's conversations with Kushner: “Johnson was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 1996 for her role facilitating communications in a cocaine trafficking operation in Memphis, Tennessee.”

  • “Johnson told Mic that she initially became involved in drug trafficking due to significant financial hardship after a string of unfortunate events in her life. She lost her job at FedEx due to a gambling addiction, her son was killed in a motorcycle accident and her marriage ended in divorce.”

The context: Trump has been on a high-profile clemency spree, issuing several pardons, including former sheriff Joe Arpaio, Scooter Libby, Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, boxing champion Jack Johnson, and right-wing pundit Dinesh D'Souza.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Johnson's sentence was commuted — rather than receiving a full pardon.

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U.S. and Taliban sign peace deal

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) sign a peace agreement during a ceremony in Qatar. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

The United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on Saturday after over a year of off-and-on negotiations, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The signing of the deal officially begins the process of ending the United States' longest war, which has spanned nearly two decades. The agreement sets a timetable for the U.S. to pull its remaining 13,000 troops out of Afghanistan, per the Times, but is contingent on the Taliban's completion of commitments, including breaking ties with international terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

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