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Trump Pardons 49 People, Including Paul Manafort and Two Former Republican Congressmen

12-22-2020
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President Donald Trump pardoned or commuted the prison sentences for 29 people on Wednesday, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law.  In the past few days, he's granted clemency to a total of 49 people. 

On Tuesday, Trump pardoned 15 people, including two former Republican congressmen, a 2016 campaign official entangled in the Russia probe, and former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad.

Those pardons included former Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York.

Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump to be president, was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison after admitting he helped his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses over a failed drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company.

Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to using campaign funds for inappropriate purchases, spending the money on things like outings with friends, and his daughter's birthday party. 

Trump also announced a pardon for George Papadopoulos, his 2016 campaign adviser who lied to the FBI about having contact with Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.

By pardoning Papadopoulos, Trump once again took aim at special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe which ended up exonerating the president of wrongdoing.

Four former government contractors were also among the group being pardoned by the president. They were convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused international outrage over the use of private security guards in a war zone.

Supporters of Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard, the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide, had argued that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation they said was tainted by problems and in which the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence. All four were serving lengthy prison sentences.

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