Last week, Kim Kardashian West headed to the White House for a chat with President Donald Trump. Her mission: Get Trump to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. That mission appears to be a success.
On Tuesday, Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence, Axios first reported.
Johnson, who is now 63, has been in federal prison since 1996, according to Mic. Kardashian West first learned about Johnson in October after watching a Mic video about her legal plight, and then started talking with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, about the case, Vanity Fair reported.
The White House started drawing up paperwork for Johnson’s commutation on Tuesday morning, the Washington Post reported, even though Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly and his White House counsel Don McGahn both cautioned the president against the move.
Presidents typically wait until the end of their term to issue pardons, but Trump has already issued several: Last week, he pardoned fiery conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza; he’s also already pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former vice presidential adviser Scooter Libby, and deceased boxing champion Jack Johnson.
As has become a hallmark of his impulsive decision-making, Trump’s commutation for Alice Marie Johnson seems to contradict his administration’s policies. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — whom Trump has publicly said he wishes he’d never hired — has spearheaded attempts to bring back mandatory-minimum sentences for drug crimes, which can land lower-level or nonviolent offenders in prison for years. Those sentencing guidelines were initially created in the late 1980s as part of the War on Drugs, and led the American prison population to explode.