News   /   Politics

Trump issues series of pardons, including for 2 in Russia probe, 4 Blackwater contractors

From left: Blackwater Worldwide security guards Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Donald Ball, Nicholas Slatten, and Dustin Heard appear in federal court with their attorneys. (AP photo)

President Donald Trump has issued pardons for 15 people including two sentenced as part of the Russia investigation as well as four Blackwater contractors among others.

The list of names announced by the White House in a wave of pre-Christmas pardons on Tuesday includes George Papadopoulos, 33, a former campaign aide who pleaded guilty during the investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Papadopoulos, who served as an adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to FBI agents about the timing and significance of his contacts with people who claimed to have ties to senior Russian officials.

In this file photo taken on September 7, 2018 Foreign policy advisor to US President Donald Trump's election campaign, George Papadopoulos leaves the US District Courts after his sentencing in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

“The defendant’s crime was serious and caused damage to the government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” a sentencing recommendation memo from then-US Special Counsel Robert Mueller had said.

The White House said Papadopoulos was charged with “a process-related crime, one count of making false statements,” as part of the probe.

“Today’s pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people,” the White House said.

Alex van der Zwaan, the Dutch son-in-law of Russian billionaire German Khan. Van der Zwaan was another individual Trump pardoned.

After lying to Mueller’s investigators about contacts with an official in the campaign, he was sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000.

Trump had called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” and said it "must never be allowed to happen again."

....Hoax. My campaign was being seriously spied upon by intel agencies and the Democrats. This never happened before in American history, and it all turned out to be a total scam, a Witch Hunt, that yielded No Collusion, No Obstruction. This must never be allowed to happen again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2019

Last month, the president pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation.

In July, Trump commuted the sentence of longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone who he was convicted of lying under oath to lawmakers as part of the Russia investigating.

Trump also pardoned four US security contractors convicted in the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, a tragic incident that caused international uproar over the use of private contractors in war zones.

The four security guards - Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten - worked for the now-defunct Blackwater Worldwide security firm, which had been contracted by the US State Department to provide protection for American diplomats in Iraq.

Slatten has been serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and the others were sentenced to between 12 and 15 years on manslaughter convictions.

Two other people Trump pardoned on Tuesday were Duncan Hunter, a former California lawmaker who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds as well as Chris Collins, a former New York congressman who is serving a 26-month sentence for conspiring to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku