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Stone and Manafort. Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Alexandria Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

President Trump granted full pardons to 26 more people on Wednesday night, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Why it matters: It's a continuation of the president's controversial pre-Christmas pardon spree, which began in earnest Tuesday night with pardons for a trio of convicted former GOP congressmen and several military contractors involved in the 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians.

Background

Manafort was one of the first major Trumpworld figures to be charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

  • He and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates were indicted for their unregistered lobbying work on behalf of the pro-Russian government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. He later faced additional charges for witness tampering and was ultimately sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee's report into Russian interference in the 2016 election found that Manafort passed internal campaign polling data to his business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the report described as a Russian intelligence officer.
  • Manafort's business dealings are still under legal scrutiny from the Manhattan district attorney, who could bring state charges that are not protected by Trump's pardon.

Stone was charged and convicted for lying to investigators who were probing his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released damaging Democratic emails hacked by the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.

  • The longtime Trump associate was sentenced to 40 months in prison, but had his sentence commuted by the president in July.
  • Stone and Manafort are the latest figures caught up in the Russia investigation to receive pardons from Trump, joining former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan.

Charles Kushner is a real estate developer who pleaded guilty in 2004 to filing false tax returns, retaliating against a witness and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission as part of a prosecution by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

Go deeper: Trump pardons convicted former congressmen and Russia probe figures

This story has been updated with more background about Manafort, Stone and Kushner.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.