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President Donald Trump issued pardons to 15 people, including those convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and commuted some or all of the criminal sentence of five others.
Those granted pardons include former congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, and New York’s Chris Collins, as well as former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor GeorgePapadopoulos.
Four former Blackwater USA guards who were convicted in the killings of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007 also were pardoned by Trump.
Before this week Trump, who lost the presidential election to Joe Biden had issued just 28 pardons and commuted the sentences of 16 other people, a sharply lower rate than presidents since 1900.
President Trump issued full pardons to 15 individuals and commuted part or all of the sentences of an additional five people, the White House announced Tuesday.
Included in the list are Duncan Hunter, a former GOP congressman from California, Chris Collins, a former GOP representative from New York and Trump campaign advisor George Papadapoulous.
The pardons and commutations came at the recommendation of Trump allies in Congress and in the media, and at the recommendation of Alice Johnson, whose sentenced was commuated at the request of Kim Kardashian.
Papadapoulous had been convicted of making false statements during the Mueller investigation.
He was sentenced to 14 days in prison and a $9,500 fine for lying to the FBI during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, after he pleaded guilty to misleading federal investigators about his meetings with Russia-connected Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud.
President Donald Trump issued a raft of pre-Christmas pardons and commutations Tuesday, favoring the well-connected and those with A-list advocates, while appearing to shunt aside — at least for now — more than 14,000 of people who have applied for clemency through a small Justice Department office that handles such requests.
Some of Trump’s actions seemed intended to send clear messages, such as grants of clemency for the former campaign operative whose 2016 activities triggered the FBI probe that led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and to four security contractors convicted for massacring Iraqi civilians in 2008, including one serving a life-sentence for first-degree murder.
The signal of Trump’s disapproval of Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia was unmistakable. His pardons for the contractors and for two Border Patrol agents also fit a pattern of Trump using his constitutional clemency power to rein in efforts to police the conduct of front-line military and security personnel. That has prompted pushback from military leaders who fear a loss of discipline among those who routinely use deadly force.
President Donald Trump granted a full pardon on Tuesday to George Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide at the center of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
“Mr. Papadopoulos was charged with a process-related crime, one count of making false statements, in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the White House said in a statement about the pardon.
“Today’s pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people.”
Trump also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch national convicted in the Mueller probe. Last month, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to false statements charges on Dec. 1, 2017.
Papadopoulos was the first Trump associate to plead guilty in the Mueller probe. He served 12 days in prison on charges that he made false statements to the FBI in January 2017 regarding his interactions with a Maltese professor who claimed to have learned that the Russian government had Hillary Clinton’s emails.