• Kim Kardashian West talks 'mission' of commuting Alice Johnson, Trump's 'compassion'

    By: USA Today

    Updated:

    Kim Kardashian West and Alice Marie Johnson shared details about her commutation from President Trump and subsequent celebration in their first joint TV interview Thursday.

    Kardashian West, and the 63-year-old who was sentenced to life for cocaine trafficking, spoke to Today's Hoda Kotb in Memphis, where they met for the first time Wednesday.

    In 1996, Johnson was convicted of five counts of drug trafficking and one count of money laundering and sentenced to life in prison — despite the fact that it was her first offense. President Trump announced he was freeing her last week.

    Kardashian West's involvement began with sharing Johnson's Mic interview on Twitter in October 2017.

    "At first, I just retweeted it, and then I sent it to my attorney," the reality star-entrepreneur said. "I said to her, 'Is there anything we can do? Can we hire different attorneys? What are the options here? What can we do?' "

    She added  that securing Johnson's clemency became "this mission that I just didn’t want to give up."

    More: Alice Johnson got a life sentence. Brock Turner got 6 months. Both cases made news again

    Winning Johnson's freedom wasn't as simple as it may have seemed.

    "I think to some people it might seem like, ‘OK, Kim made a phone call to the president, showed up,’ " Kardashian West said. "We had been in talks and working on this for seven months. And it wasn’t an instant thing.”

    The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star said when she set her sights on the White House, the first call she made was to President Trump's daughter and adviser, Ivanka.

    "We had a really great conversation about women and wanting to help each other, and I knew that she would've understood Alice," she said. "She immediately was so receptive and so great."

    Once inside the Oval Office for her meeting with the Commander in Chief, a moment Kardashian West described as "just insane," she said the president had empathy for Johnson's story.

    “I explained to him where I found her, why I believe in her, how people deserve second chances and the president had compassion for her right away," she said. "He felt that it was the right thing to do.” 

    More: Kim Kardashian in Memphis: Listen to the moment Kim met Alice

    Trump granted Johnson clemency on June 6. After Kardashian West broke the news to Johnson that she would be going home after 22 years behind bars, she broke into a big celebration.

    “When she said (I could go home), I went into full-fledged Pentecostal holy dance," Johnson shared. "I started screaming and jumping.

    "I was doing everything,” she added.

    While Kardashian West has enjoyed this experience, she's not signing up for a career in politics just yet.

    “People have been asking me, 'Are you getting into politics?' " she told Kotb. "No I’m still doing me, but I enjoy this."

    She continued, "This has fulfilled my heart. Since I feel so fulfilled, why would I stop that?”

    Johnson also hopes to pay her good fortune forward.

    “I plan on continuing to magnify this issue. I can’t stop,” she said.  “I’ve lived it. I’ve walked with them. I’ve cried with them. My life is completely intertwined forever with those who are left behind. It can’t end here.” 

    Contributing: Gregory Korte

    Opinion: Why are you angry that Kim Kardashian did what you couldn’t?

    More: Kim Kardashian West gets cheeky in CFDA Awards speech: 'I'm naked most of the time'

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