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Trump pardons individuals charged in Russia probe, ex-GOP lawmakers

President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE on Tuesday granted clemency to three former Republican congressmen as well as two individuals charged as part of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation, George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTrump supporters show up to DC for election protest Trump pardons draw criticism for benefiting political allies Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' MORE and Alex van der ZwaanAlex van der ZwaanPardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' CNN's John Berman on Trump pardons: 'Good night to be a corrupt Republican congressman' MORE.

Trump granted a full pardon to former California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds in 2019. He also granted a pardon to former New York GOP Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsOutrage grows as Justice seeks to contain subpoena fallout Trump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP MORE, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI in 2019 and is currently serving a 26-month sentence.

Additionally, Trump commuted the sentence of former Texas GOP Rep. Steve StockmanStephen (Steve) Ernest StockmanPardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office GOP senator on Trump pardons: 'It is legal, it is constitutional, but I think it's a misuse of the power' Nothing becomes Donald Trump's presidency like his leaving it MORE, who was convicted in 2018 of money laundering, conspiracy and other charges related to a scheme to defraud charitable donors.

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Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigations in relation to Mueller’s Russia investigation. Papadopoulos, who has been a vocal defender of Trump, served 12 days in prison in 2018. He was the first of six Trump associates charged in Mueller’s sprawling probe.

Van der Zwaan, a Dutch national, served a 30-day prison sentence for lying to investigators about his involvement in a report for the Ukrainian government prepared by law firm Skadden Arps. Both men were given full pardons. The actions represented Trump’s latest broadside against the Russia investigation, which dogged his first two years in office.

In total, Trump granted 15 pardons and five commutations that were announced Tuesday evening by the White House. Trump has been weighing issuing a handful of clemency grants in his final days in office.

Late last month, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who was also charged in connection with Mueller’s investigation. The pardon came as the Justice Department was seeking to withdraw its case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, bringing a dramatic end to his case. 

The list released Tuesday evening also includes three individuals to whom Trump had previously granted clemency, Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall, and Judith Negron, who had been convicted on drug and fraud-related charges. Trump commuted the remainder of their sentences.

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Alice Johnson, a woman whose life sentence Trump commuted and has been a vocal advocate for his administration’s work, advocated for all three of the individuals. Johnson was recently pictured at the White House with Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpMichael Cohen predicts Trump will turn on family after revelation of criminal probe Eric Trump buys .2M home near father's golf club in Florida Melinda Gates tapped divorce lawyers in 2019 after Epstein links to husband: report MORE, the president’s daughter and senior adviser.

Trump also gave full pardons to four former Blackwater security contractors who had been convicted over their roles in the 2007 killings of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard had been given sentences ranging from 12 years to life in prison for the massacre.

Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, one of Trump's allies and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosErik Prince involved in push for experimental COVID-19 vaccine: report Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies DeVos ordered to testify in student loan forgiveness lawsuit MORE.

Trump will leave office in less than a month, and it’s possible he could issue more pardons in the coming weeks. There has been speculation that Trump could look to grant preemptive pardons to members of his family, though it’s unclear whether or how seriously Trump is currently considering such a move.

Trump has often used the pardon power to the benefit of those with personal or political connections to him. He granted clemency to Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneBannon asked Trump DOJ to reimburse his legal fees from Russia probe: report Feds charge members of Three Percenters militia group over Jan. 6 attack Biden's anti-corruption memo is good news — and essential to US national security MORE, a longtime adviser who was also convicted in the Mueller probe, in July. He also pardoned former New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, a friend of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiMo Brooks accuses Swalwell attorney who served papers on his wife of trespassing GOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE, in February.

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The announcement on Tuesday evening drew sharp criticism from Democrats. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCyber concerns dominate Biden-Putin summit Senate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cybersecurity during summit with Putin MORE (D-Calif.) released a statement accusing Trump of abusing the presidential 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, calling Trump a "corrupt man."

 

Harper Neidig contributed.