Day 1,433: Trump pardons convicted war criminals, corrupt GOP politicians, notorious fraudsters, Russia probe figures
Donald Trump’s itchy fingers found their way off Twitter long enough to sign some new pardons and clemencies on Tuesday.
Trump issued 15 pardons and five commutations. Save for some non-violent individuals serving time for drug crimes, Trump zeroed in on some heinous individuals. His holiday forgiveness list included war criminals from an infamous shooting that left 17 Iraqi citizens dead, corrupt Republican politicians, individuals who helped Trump in the Russia probe headed by Robert Mueller, border patrol agents who shot an unarmed migrant, HUD secretary Ben Carson’s friend, and a notorious Medicare fraudster.
Many more pardons and commutations are expected before Trump leaves office next month.
The pardons of former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, former US congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and the four Blackwater guards involved in the Iraq massacre kick off what is expected to be a flurry of pardons and commutations in the coming weeks as Trump concludes his term.
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.
The pardons came at the recommendation of Trump allies in Congress and, in some cases, the conservative media.
Unrepentant white collar criminals seemed to get a pass just because they once carried an (R) next to their name in elected office.
The announcement Tuesday also included commuting the remaining prison term of former Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican who was convicted by a jury in Texas of almost two dozen felonies, including fraud and money laundering.
Certainly, however, the worst were for the Blackwater guards whose story spurred international controversy and condemnation.
The four Blackwater guards — Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard — were convicted by a federal jury in 2014 after a lengthy trial that saw some 30 witnesses travel from Iraq to testify against them. Prosecutors accused the men of illegally unleashing “powerful sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers on innocent men, women and children.”
According to prosecutors, the four were among seven Blackwater employees who opened fire in the Nusoor Square traffic circle in Baghdad, killing 17 people.
An FBI investigation found 14 of the deaths unjustified, according to rules of engagement for private security contractors in Iraq. Slatten was accused of firing the first shots.
In the waning days of his time in office, Trump has chosen to extend a hand to convicted war criminals and white collar criminals, while continuing to reward those around him for providing him protection from the Mueller probe.
1,433 days in, 29 to go
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