Outside the Outbreak: Trump issues pardons, Biden selects nominee for education secretary

New round of Trump clemency benefits Manafort, other allies

FILE – In this Thursday, June 27, 2019 file photo, Paul Manafort arrives in court in New York. President Trump’s former campaign manager is to be arraigned on state mortgage fraud charges. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 issued pardons and sentence commutations for 29 people, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, in the latest burst of clemency in his final weeks at the White House. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

President Donald Trump pardoned more than two dozen people, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, in the latest wave of clemency to benefit longtime associates and supporters.

The actions, in Trump’s waning time at the White House, bring to nearly 50 the number of people whom the president has granted clemency in the last week. The list from the last two days includes not only multiple people convicted in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia but also allies from Congress and other felons whose causes were championed by friends.

Biden picks Connecticut schools chief as education secretary

FILE – In this Jan. 28, 2020 file photo, Connecticut State Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona speaks with Berlin High School students while on a tour of the school. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen the education commissioner for Connecticut and a former public school teacher to serve as education secretary. (Devin Leith-Yessian/Berlin Citizen/Record-Journal via AP)

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s education chief and a lifelong champion of public schools, to serve as education secretary.

The selection delivers on Biden’s promise to nominate someone with experience working in public education and would fulfill his goal of installing an education chief who stands in sharp contrast to Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Unlike DeVos, a school choice advocate whom Biden says is an opponent of public schools, Cardona is a product of them, starting when he entered kindergarten unable to speak English.

Church sued for alleged role in Boy Scouts sex abuse

Jake May
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recently named in multiple lawsuits related to sexual abuse among Boy Scout troops in Arizona. (Jake May/The Flint Journal – MLive.com via AP)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was hit with several lawsuits Dec. 28 for allegedly covering up decades of sexual abuse among Boy Scout troops in Arizona, marking the latest litigation before the state’s end-of-year deadline for adult victims to sue.

The church “must be held accountable in order to bring healing and closure to Mormon victims of childhood sexual abuse,” Hurley McKenna & Mertz, a law firm that focuses on church sex abuse, said in a statement.

In the seven lawsuits, attorneys say church officials never notified authorities about abuse allegations. Public records show members of church-sponsored Boy Scout troops who were abused would tell church bishops about what they had experienced. The lawsuits allege bishops would then tell the victims to keep quiet so the church could conduct its own investigation. In the meantime, troop leaders and volunteers accused of sex abuse would be allowed to continue in their roles or be assigned to another troop, the suits said.

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Janelle B. Smith

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