President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned 15 people, including those convicted as part of Special Envoy Robert Mueller’s investigation and four former Blackwater USA guards convicted of the 2007 murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
Pardons include ex-Congressmen Duncan Hunter from California, Chris Collins from New York, and Steve Stockman from Texas.
Collins, who last year pleaded guilty to crimes resulting from informing his son of nonpublic information about a pharmaceutical company, was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s campaign as president in 2015.
Trump, who has sharply criticized Muller’s investigation into his 2016 campaign and its contacts with Russians, apologized to former election worker George Papadopoulos, who was convicted of making false statements during the investigation.
“Today’s pardon helps correct the injustice Mueller’s team has done to so many people,” said Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement on Papadopoulous’ pardon.
Also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney and Dutch national who plead guilty of lying to the FBI during the Mueller investigation. Van der Zwaan was the first person convicted in the investigation and was sentenced to 30 days in prison in 2018.
Trump has been particularly stingy when it comes to granting executive grace, which includes pardons and commutations, compared to previous presidents.
Trump had previously issued only 28 pardons and commuted the criminal convictions of 16 other people, a significantly lower rate than other one-year presidents, according to the Justice Department.
Trump’s pardons included those on financial scammer Michael Milken; Press Baron Conrad Black; former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arapaio, convicted of contempt of court; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former advisor to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney on obstruction of justice; Conservative Gadfly Dinesh D’Souza for Campaign Submission Fraud; and Ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik for Tax and Other Crimes.
In November, Trump apologized to his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for making false statements to FBI agents.
In July, Trump commuted the 40-month sentence of Republican adviser Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress.
Among the beneficiaries of his commutation was former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell an appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when that president became president.
Trump previously apologized for several deaths, including early 20th century black boxing champion Jack Johnson for the crime of crossing the state line with his white girlfriend and Susan B. Anthony, the 19th suffragette, who was charged with illegal elections was convicted.
Trump also pardoned the late scientist Zay Jeffries, who was convicted of anticompetitive behavior by Sherman in 1948 for violating the antitrust law. That year, President Harry Truman awarded him the President’s Medal of Merit for his work during World War II, which included contributions to the Manhattan Project.
Trump pardoned Alice Marie Johnson, a woman convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, in August. The president had commuted Johnson’s life sentence two years earlier after lobbying reality TV star Kim Kardashian West on her behalf.
The only other president with a term in office in the past 30 years, Trump’s Republican compatriot George HW Bush, pardoned 74 people by comparison and issued commutations for three more.
Obama, who served two terms before Trump, pardoned 212 people, or more than six times the number Trump pardoned in half that time. Obama commuted the sentences of more than 1,700 people.
The last Republican to serve two terms, George W. Bush, pardoned 189 people and commuted 11 sentences.
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