While his critics will see an abuse of his powers less than 30 days before he leaves the White House, it has been announced that the president has issued a total of 20 pardons and reliefs.
The White House said in a statement issued Tuesday evening: “Today, President Donald J Trump granted a complete amnesty to 15 people and reduced partial or all of the sentences issued against five other people.”
Among those pardoned was George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy advisor for Trump’s 2016 campaign, and who pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal officials while investigating alleged Russian interference in that year’s election by Robert Mueller.
Among those who were pardoned was Alex van der Zwan, a lawyer who pleaded guilty to the same charges in 2018.
The White House also announced that Trump had pardoned three former Republican members of Congress – Duncan Hunter of California, Chris Collins of New York, and Steve Stockman of Texas.
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The The New York Times He said Hunter was about to begin serving an 11-month prison sentence next month after pleading guilty in 2019 to one count related to misuse of campaign funds.
Collins, who was among the first members of Congress to support the Trump nomination, is serving a 26-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges of making false statements to the FBI and conspiring to commit securities fraud.
Stockman was convicted in 2018 of fraud and money laundering and was serving a 10-year prison sentence.
By pardoning Papadopoulos, Trump again targeted Mueller’s special counsel investigation in Russia, as part of a broader effort by the president to overturn the results of the investigation that resulted in criminal charges against six of his associates.
Last month, Trump pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had twice confessed to lying to the FBI, and months earlier, he commuted another colleague, Roger Stone, days before he got to prison.
With 29 days since Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president, Mr Trump has been accused of showing little, if any, interest in ruling even as the death toll from the pandemic exceeds 320,000.
Reports indicate that he remains focused on trying to overturn Biden’s victory, slowing the transition and taking advantage of his presidential powers.
Four former government contractors were also pardoned, convicted in the 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and sparked an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.
Supporters of Nicholas Slaten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide, lobbied for a pardon, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted with problems and withholding evidence of innocence. All four were serving long prison sentences.
Additional reports by The Associated Press
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