Trump issues slew of TWENTY pardons including former campaign aide George Papadopoulos and disgraced ex-reps
PRESIDENT Donald Trump has pardoned a slew of people in his orbit as he prepares to leave the White House next month.
The lame duck president issued 15 pardons and five commutations on Tuesday for his Republican allies — including two former members of Congress and two men convicted in the Russia probe.
George Papadopoulos was the first campaign aide sentenced in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Papadopoulos triggered the investigation and was sentenced in September 2018 for lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Former Republican Representatives Chris Collins, of New York, and Duncan Hunter, of California, were also pardoned.
Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for the presidency — and was later sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison.
The pardons and commutations come as…
- Trump has 28 days left in the White House
- The president has claimed that Vice President Mike Pence has turned on him
- He pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
The former New York rep had admitted to helping his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed.
Hunter was sentenced in March to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $250,000 in campaign funds and trying to hide it on financial disclosures.
Prosecutors said they spent the money on everything ranging from outings with friends to his daughter’s birthday party.
Hunter resigned from Congress in January after representing one of Southern California’s last solidly Republican districts.
Trump also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators during Mueller’s investigation.
Van der Zwaan and Papadopoulos are the third and fourth Russia investigation defendants that have been granted clemency.
It was also announced on Tuesday night that Trump pardoned four former government contractors — Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard — convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad.
The massacre left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.
Supporters of the four former Blackwater Worldwide contractors had lobbied for pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished; all four have been serving lengthy prison sentences.
Slatten was serving a life sentence without parole. Prosecutors said he was the first to fire shots in the massacre at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad that left 10 men, two women, and two boys, ages 9 and 11, dead.
Last month, Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Months earlier, the president commuted the sentence of another associate, Roger Stone, just days before he was to report to prison.
Since Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, it's been widely speculated that Trump could pardon his closest allies before leaving office.
Politico had reported that those up for the possible pardons included Rudy Guiliani and Jared Kushner, along with Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr Trump.
Others touted for Trump to pardon reportedly include Tiger King Joe Exotic, Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and former White House adviser Steve Bannon, according to a New York Times report.
There's even speculation that Trump might try to pardon himself.
More to follow…
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