TRUMP PARDONS 9 CONVICTS, INCLUDING 2 CAUGHT LYING IN RUSSIA QUIZ
In an audacious pre-Christmas round of pardons, President Trump granted clemency on Tuesday to two people convicted in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians and three corrupt former Republican members of Congress, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt reported for the New York Times.
Among those pardoned was George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to federal officials as part of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
Also pardoned was Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who pleaded guilty to the same charge in 2018 in connection of the special counsel’s inquiry. Both men served short prison sentences. Mr. Trump’s pardon list also included four former U.S. service members who were convicted of killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007.
The three former members of Congress pardoned by Mr. Trump were Duncan Hunter of California, Chris Collins of New York and Steve Stockman of Texas. Mr. Hunter was set to begin serving an 11-month sentence next month.
He pleaded guilty in 2019 to one charge of misusing campaign funds. Mr. Collins, an early endorser of Mr. Trump, is serving a 26-month sentence after pleading guilty in 2019 to charges of making false statements to the FBI, and to conspiring to commit securities fraud. Mr. Stockman was convicted in 2018 on charges of fraud and money laundering and was serving a 10-year sentence.
A tabulation by the Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith found that of the 45 pardons or commutations Mr. Trump had granted up until Tuesday, 88 percent aided someone with a personal tie to the president or furthered his political aims.