Mueller Probe Figures Skate in Trump Pardon Spree

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation, arrives for his first appearance before congressional investigators, on Oct. 25, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(CN) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned 15 people, including two men who pleaded guilty in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and three former Republican congressmen.

Among the numerous Trump allies on Tuesday’s list of pardons were former Republican Representatives Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York. 

Collins had been sentenced to two years for helping his son avoid $800,000 in stock market losses using insider knowledge, and Hunter had been slapped with a lesser sentence after allegedly misappropriating campaign funds for his personal use. 

The White House announced that former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, and Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan received a pardon, as well. 

Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign in 2016, pleaded guilty in 2017 of giving false information to federal officials during special counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election.

Alex van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators during the probe. 

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

Trump also pardoned four former contractors for Blackwater Worldwide involved in the killings of Iraqi civilians in 2007. The former security contractors — Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, were convicted for a 2007 massacre in which more than a dozen Iraqi civilians died. 

Trump also granted full pardons to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two border patrol agents who were accused of shooting an unarmed immigrant. The two had the support of a hundred members of Congress, the U.S. Border Control Foundation and the Conservative Legal Defense Education Fund, according to McEnany. 

In a statement on Tuesday, McEnany praised the former agents for putting “themselves in harm’s way to help secure our southern border with Mexico.”

The president also commuted the remaining sentences of an additional five individuals, including former U.S. House member Republican Steve Stockman, who was convicted in 2018 of misuse of charitable funds.  

McEnany said that Stockman’s release is on compassionate grounds.

“Mr. Stockman is 64 and has underlying pre-existing health conditions that place his health at greater risk during the COVID epidemic, and he has already contracted COVID while in prison,” she wrote. 

According to the Marshall Project, 276,235 people in prison in the U.S. had tested positive for Covid-19 as of Dec. 15.

Alfred Lee Crum, 89, who pleaded guilty in 1952 to helping his wife’s uncle illegally distill moonshine, was also pardoned. Crum served three years of probation and paid a $250 fine, according to McEnany’s statement. 

As of Dec. 18, Trump had pardoned about 28 people. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, this is a lower rate than previous presidents, partially due to the fact that Trump has pardoned far fewer nonviolent drug offenders than former President Barack Obama had during his term. 

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