The President grants pardons to 15 people, including contractors convicted of massacres in Iraq, and commutes the sentences of others

Donald Trump agreed to a wave of pre-Christmas pardons, granting mercy to a former election worker involved in the Russia investigation, ashamed Republican lawmakers, and several contractors convicted of a massacre in Iraq

The Trump White House, announced on Tuesday, has granted full pardons to 15 people and commuted all or part of the sentences of five others to beneficiaries include George Papadopoulos, a former election worker who pleaded guilty to federal officials as part of the meddling investigation Russia lied in the 2016 presidential election, and Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to similar charges in the Russia investigation, is the son-in-law of Russian billionaire German Khan

The three former US Republican officials who were pardoned or whose sentences were commuted Tuesday were Chris Collins of New York, Duncan Hunter of California, and Steve Stockman of Texas

Collins, 70, was the first seated member of Congress to endorse Trump’s 2016 candidacy and was a strong defense lawyer for the President, pleading guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud and making false statements to the FBI to make and received a full apology

Hunter, 44, pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiring to convert campaign funds for personal use and received a full apology, 64-year-old Stockman was convicted of donated funds abuse in 2018 and sentenced after two out of ten years in prison

Also pardoned were Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, former Blackwater Worldwide contractors who were serving long sentences in connection with the murder of civilians in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad, among those killed by Blackwater contractors Children including a nine year old and a mother clutching a child

Two former border guards also pardoned Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were convicted of crimes related to the shooting of an unarmed man who smuggled marijuana in 2005, according to George W. Bush commuted her sentences in 2009, but did not grant a full pardon

Trump’s use of the presidential pardon has generated considerable controversy, and Tuesday’s list of recipients has been heavily reprimanded by Democrats

“These corrupt politicians deserve no apologies,” California Democratic Representative Katie Porter said of “Appalling President Decision”

“Are you still a pro-law enforcement president after pardoning killer of a 9-year-old &, an 11-year-old?” asked Joyce Alene, a law professor at the University of Alabama and former US attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, about the ruling on the contractors’ cases

Adam Schiff, the Democratic Congressman who followed Trump’s impeachment proceedings, tweeted, “Lies to cover up the president? You get an apology from a corrupt politician who approved of Trump? Got an excuse to murder innocent civilians? Got an apology Elect a corrupt man president? You will get a damaged result ”

Though noteworthy, Tuesday’s wave of decisions came as no surprise in November, Trump pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation

There has been speculation about who Trump might forgive next, and the pardon of Papadopoulos and Van der Zwaan could signal that more Trump employees involved in the matter could expect pardons, including his former aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani; WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; and National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden are also among the common names

“Today’s pardon helps correct the injustice Mueller’s team has inflicted on so many people,” the White House said in a statement Papadopoulos, 33, was an adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign. He pleaded guilty in 2017, FBI – To have lied to agents about the timing and importance of his contacts with people who claimed to have connections with leading Russian officials

“The defendant’s crime was grave and damaged the government’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election,” reads a condemnation recommendation protocol of the then US Special Adviser Mueller Papadopoulos, who served only 12 days of a 14-day prison term in federal prison and was then sentenced to a 12-month monitored release

It has also been reported that Trump has been considering issuing a preventative pardon for himself and members of his family who worked in his White House

Pardons and other acts of grace, often on common federal prisoners, are a common feature of the end of a presidency, however, according to the Pew Research Center, Trump “has used his grace less than any president in modern history”

“Though rare,” Pew added, “Trump’s use of the president’s grace has been a source of controversy over the nature of his pardons and commutations, according to a July analysis on the Lawfare blog, many of Trump’s beneficiaries were” personal or political Liaison with the President “and he has often bypassed the formal process that normally takes clerical requests into account”

President pardons, which apply only to federal cases, do not imply innocence of the present indictment

Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “I doubt government entrepreneurs who slaughtered civilians or corrupt comrades in Congress had the founders in mind when drafting the pardon

“Most despicable is that President Trump is twisting that presidential power to reward allies who have broken the law on his behalf,” added Blumenthal,

Several of the president’s critics also pointed out that the government went through a series of federal executions and granted pardons to allies.The government killed 10 federal inmates and is scheduled to execute three more in January, days before Joe Biden becomes the next president

The White House cited Stockman’s age and health and that he contracted Covid-19 in prison as part of its case for commuting his sentence, however, nearly 6 remain, according to the Bureau of Prisons000 people arrested who tested positive for the virus in federal prisons

The president commuted the sentences of three civilians, Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall and Judith Negron, who had been convicted of drug and fraud allegations he had previously granted pardon after reality TV star Kim Kardashian West fell had used for her

Trump apologizes

World News – USA – Trump apologizes for ex-election officials, Blackwater contractors and embarrassed lawmakers

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/22/donald-trump-pardons-george-papadopoulos