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Trump Pardons 15 People, Including Several GOP Allies, Mercenaries Convicted of Iraqi Massacre

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced a batch of pardons, including forgiveness for two defendants who pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The wave of 15 pardons, and five sentence commutations also includes several of Trump’s GOP allies and four Blackwater guards convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad.

Former Trump Campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Dutch attorney Alex Van der Zwaan, both of whom pleaded guilty to lying to investigators during the investigation, were granted forgiveness.

Papadopoulos served just two weeks in prison in 2018, and Van der Zwaan spent nearly a month behind bars before he was deported to Europe.

“I made a terrible mistake,” Papadopoulos told the judge during his sentencing hearing. “In hindsight, lying to federal agents about such a critical issue could have harmed our nation.”

Papadopoulos had lied about his communications with people connected to Russia, including conversations about “dirt” that could hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances at winning the election.

Trump also pardoned the four Blackwater guards, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard, convicted of killing 17 people in Iraq in 2007. The guards for the private security firm opened fire on a traffic circle in Baghdad, killing innocent civilians. The men were convicted by a federal jury in 2014.

The president also granted full pardons to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two Border Patrol agents who had already served their sentences for their role in the 2005 shooting of undocumented immigrant Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump granted pardons to former Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York, both early supporters of his 2016 campaign.

Collins was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison after he admitted to helping his son and several others avoid $800,000 in stock market losses after he learned of a pharmaceutical companies failed drug trial.

Hunter was sentenced for stealing campaign funds and using them for outings and other personal affairs.

Trump also commuted former Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman’s remaining sentence. Stockman had been convicted of misusing charitable funds.

Others on the list include a doctor convicted for health fraud and women guilty of drug crimes.

More pardons are expected as Trump exercises his executive powers in the final weeks of his presidency

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