WASHINGTON: Emerging reports have suggested that US President Donald Trump is considering granting additional pardons to several individuals tied to the Russia investigation that drew much attention throughout his time in office. Pardons may be issued to Trump family members and even his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Amid reports that Trump would be issuing a slew of last-minute pardons before his anticipated exit from the White House, the commander-in-chief granted clemency on Tuesday to over a dozen individuals, Sputnik news agency reported.
Among the pardoned was former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during interviews about his ties to a London-based official who claimed to have dirt on then-2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Papadopoulos was charged with a process-related crime, one count of making false statements, in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,“ the White House said on Tuesday.
“Notably, Mueller stated in his report that he found no evidence of collusion in connection with Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election.”
The release added that Papadopoulos’ pardon “helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people.”
Lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in work linked to Ukraine, was also issued a pardon. Papadopoulos and Van der Zwaan both served short prison sentences for their crimes.
Others who were issued pardons included former Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY), as well as four Blackwater guards who were convicted over the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians. The White House indicated that the pardons for both Collins and Hunter had been requested by members of the US Congress.
The spate of pardons comes after Trump granted clemency last month to his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI during the Russia probe.
Citing records from the US Justice Department CNBC reported that prior to December 18, Trump issued a total of 28 pardons and 16 commutations. Aside from Flynn, past pardons were issued to former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza and former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. — Bernama