Trump pardons political allies

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – President Trump is now in Florida where he’ll spend the holidays and where he’s also again exercised his pardon power.

Back in Washington, lawmakers are trying to figure out what actions to take after the president vetoed the defense spending bill and left another aimed at COVID relief in limbo.

President Trump delivered an early Christmas surprise overnight, pardoning more than two dozen people including some key political allies.

Among them, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who pleaded guilty to financial fraud and then lying to investigators, longtime political adviser Roger Stone—convicted of lying to

Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a House inquiry—and Charles Kushner the father of Trump’s son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.

Charles Kushner spent two years in prison for tax evasion and lying to the FEC, prosecuted by then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who described the case on PBS last year: “It’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was U.S. attorney.”

The president arrived in Florida overnight, leaving chaos and confusion behind in Washington after vetoing the $740 billion annual defense bill, upset over provisions renaming military bases named for Confederate figures and lawmakers’ refusal to change an unrelated set of protections for social media companies.

Speaker Pelosi called the veto “an act of staggering recklessness” and vowed to bring Congress back after Christmas to override it.

But it’s the president’s apparent threat to veto the $900 billion dollar COVID relief bill that has the country looking to Palm Beach this Christmas.

Trump said, “I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000.”

An anticipated presidential signature of the bill could have sent $600 stimulus checks and other aid out before New Year. Republican lawmakers are now publicly pleading with the president to sign the bipartisan package, which also funds the government well into next year.

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