Donald Trump announced new pardons on Tuesday for former Republican congressmen, two individuals charged as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as well as military contractors involved in a deadly shooting of Iraqi civilians.
Trump pardoned former New York Rep. Chris Collins who is currently serving a 26 months sentence after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI in 2019. He also granted a full pardon to Rep. Duncan Hunter, the former GOP congressman from California who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. He was sentenced to 11 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Additionally, Trump commuted the sentence of Rep. Steve Stockman, the former Texas GOP congressman who was convicted of money laundering, conspiracy and other charges related to a scheme to defraud charitable donors 2018.
Trump also pardoned former campaign aide George Papadopoulos and Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan. They both pleaded guilty to lying to investigators during the Russia investigation and served time in prison.
Trump gave full pardons to four former Blackwater security contractors—Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard— who had been convicted by a federal jury in 2014 for their roles in the 2007 killings of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians after they opened fire in Nusoor Square traffic circle in Baghdad. Prosecutors accused the men of illegally unleashing “powerful sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers on innocent men, women and children,” CNN reports. Blackwater was founded by Trump ally and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother Erik Prince.
In total, Trump granted 15 pardons and five commutations on Tuesday.
Pardons were also issued for Alfonso Costa, a dentist who pleaded guilty to health care fraud; Alfred Lee Crum, who pleaded guilty in 1952 to illegally distilling moonshine; Weldon Angelos, who was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana and carrying a handgun; Philip Lyman, a county commissioner in Utah who was sentenced to 10 days in jail related to his protest of ATV restrictions on federal land; and Otis Gordon, who was convicted of possession with intent to distribute, per CNN.
At the recommendation of Alice Johnson whose sentence was commuted by Donald Trump, the outgoing president reduced the sentences of Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall and Judith Negron, three women convicted on non-violent drug offenses.
Philip Esformes,the man at the center of one of the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud cases also had his 20-year sentence committed by Donald Trump.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, accused Trump of abusing his pardon power.
“Trump is doling out pardons, not on the basis of repentance, restitution or the interests of justice, but to reward his friends and political allies, to protect those who lie to cover up him, to shelter those guilty of killing civilians, and to undermine an investigation that uncovered massive wrongdoing,” Schiff said in a statement.
We’ll likely see Trump grant more pardons in the coming weeks as his time in the White House ends. He’s reportedly considering preemptive pardons for his three eldest children, Jared Kushner and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.