Obama pardons 78, shortens sentence for 153 others

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President Barack Obama on Thursday vowed retaliatory action against Russia for its meddling in the US presidential election. "I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will at a time and place of our own choosing," Obama told National Public Radio.

HONOLULU (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentence of 153 others convicted of federal crimes. It’s the most number of individual clemencies in a single day by any president.

Obama has been granting commutations at rapid-fire pace in his final months in office, but he has focused primarily on shortening sentences rather than pardons. Pardons amount to forgiveness of a crime that removes restrictions on the right to vote and lessens the conviction stigma.

Neil Eggleston, Obama’s White House counsel, says Obama has now pardoned a total of 148 people during his presidency and has shortened the sentences of 1,176 people, including 395 serving life sentences.

Eggleston says the clemency actions exemplify Obama’s belief that America is a nation of second chances.