Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) claimed on CNN Wednesday that President Trump has “perverted the pardon process” by pardoning people based on “celebrity status or because a celebrity talked to him.”
Lieu claimed this was the case based on Trump’s recent commutation of the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who was serving a life sentence due to a first-time nonviolent drug offense and charges of money laundering.
Whether or not a person is pardoned "shouldn't be based on which celebrities have access to the President," says Rep. Ted Lieu as Trump commutes Alice Johnson's sentence after Kim Kardashian visit https://t.co/cqxSLl6oTT https://t.co/A0BVydXJI5— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) June 6, 2018
Trump commuted her sentence after reality TV star Kim Kardashian West met with him last week to advocate for Johnson.
"The president has perverted the pardon process and now it seems like he’s pardoning people based on their celebrity status or because a celebrity talked to him," Lieu claimed.
"In this case," he said, "it’s pretty clear that the only reason Trump pardoned Ms. Johnson is because Kim Kardashian talked to Donald Trump about this case."
"That shouldn’t be how it works," he continued. "It shouldn’t be based on which celebrities have access to the president or the wealthy or who has connections. It should be based on a process and I urge the President to go back to the same process all previous presidents have used."
Lieu did not elaborate on the particulars of Johnson's case or why he believed Trump's decision was based solely on the celebrity visit.