Trump issues 15 pardons, commutes sentences of 5 others

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has pardoned 15 people, including Republican allies, a 2016 campaign official ensnared in the Russia probe, and former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad. Trump commuted the sentences of five others.

The acts of clemency announced Tuesday night include pardons for former Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York, and a commutation for former Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas.

Trump also announced a pardon for George Papadopoulos, his 2016 campaign adviser whose conversation unwittingly helped trigger the Russia investigation that shadowed Trump’s presidency for nearly two years.

In addition, Trump pardoned four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone. All four were serving lengthy prison sentences.

Supporters of the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide had lobbied for pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted by problems. The pardons reflect Trump’s apparent willingness to give the benefit of doubt to American servicemembers and contractors when it comes to acts of violence in warzones against civilians.

Categories: National News, Politics & Elections