Johnson, 63, was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 1996 for her role in a cocaine-trafficking operation in Tennessee.
“Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades,” the White House said in a statement.
“While this Administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.”
The commutation, which was also supported by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, is the second act of clemency Trump has issued in the last six days, and more may be in the offing, White House officials say.
On Thursday, Trump pardoned the conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza, who had pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation, and told reporters that he was mulling pardoning or commuting the sentences of several others, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart.
Blagojevich’s attorneys filed an official request Wednesday asking Trump to commute his 14-year sentence on corruption charges.
Last month, Trump posthumously pardoned the first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, who was convicted more than 100 years ago on a charge unique to the Jim Crow era, stemming from his relationship with a white woman.
Many legal analysts believe the sudden focus on pardons is, in part, a signal from Trump to former associates entangled in the investigation headed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into possible collusion by Trump campaign officials with Russia.
Earlier this week, the wife of George Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide who pleaded guilty last year of lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government, took to Fox News to explicitly ask the president to pardon her husband.
Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos told host Tucker Carlson that her husband had been a “dedicated and committed” campaign aide and done an “excellent job” for Trump.
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