Donald Trump on Wednesday issued twenty pardons and commutations to many of the most controversial figures with ties to his administration, in a move further cementing his dubious legacy of exercising his sweeping powers to benefit his political allies and continuing his spiteful exit from the White House.
Among the list of individuals pardoned Wednesday are George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller; Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, both former Republican congressmen convicted of financial crimes; and four former Blackwater Worldwide military contractors responsible for the shooting deaths of 14 Iraqis in 2007.
These latest executive actions, issued in the last weeks of Trump’s lame duck period contribute to an already sizeable list of close allies who have benefitted from his pardon authority, including Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, and Roger Stone, his longtime friend, and political adviser. Also included in the batch announced on Tuesday are Alex van der Zwaan, the Dutch lawyer who was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to lying to Mueller investigators; two Border Patrol agents convicted in 2006 of shooting and wounding an unarmed undocumented immigrant and then covering it up, and several people convicted of non-violent drug crimes serving lengthy sentences. Many of the non-violent drug offenders were recommended for clemency by Alice Johnson, the former federal inmate whose sentence Trump commuted at the urging of Kim Kardashian West.
BREAKING: Trump pardons 15/commutes 5, including: @GeorgePapa19; Blackwater contractor Nicholas Slatten who was serving life in prison for killing Iraqi civilian in Nisour Square massacre. DOJ had gone to great lengths to prosecute Slatten. w/@maggieNYT https://t.co/vgR22IRfO4
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) December 23, 2020
The announcement comes shortly after news broke about several new Trump appointments to government positions ranging from the Kennedy Center’s board to the Fulbright Scholarship program.
Papadopoulos thanked Trump on Twitter, but the replies to this tweet indicate he’s celebrating for the wrong reasons.
So you are admitting you’re guilty as charged?
— Lynn Comella (@LynnComella) December 23, 2020