On Tuesday night, Donald Trump issued a flurry of pardons and sentence commutations. And while Lisa Montgomery, a woman who suffered horrific sexual and physical abuse before committing a terrible crime, was ignored by Trump despite hundreds of thousands calling for him to give her clemency, a whole cast of Republican goons, fraudsters, former Trump campaign advisers, and Blackwater mercenaries who killed children while in Iraq apparently deserved his sympathy. The only real surprise is that he didn’t go ahead and try to pardon himself.
More, from the New York Times:
Mr. Trump nullified more of the legal consequences of an investigation into his 2016 campaign that he long labeled a hoax. He granted clemency to contractors whose actions in Iraq set off an international uproar and helped turn public opinion further against the war there. And he pardoned three members of his party who had become high-profile examples of public corruption.
The 15 pardons and five commutations were made public by the White House in a statement on Tuesday evening. They appeared in many cases to have bypassed the traditional Justice Department review process — more than half of the cases did not meet the department’s standards for consideration — and reflected Mr. Trump’s long-held grudges about the Russia investigation, his instinct to side with members of the military accused of wrongdoing and his willingness to reward political allies.
The list of people Trump deemed worthy of his generosity include disgraced former Congressperson Duncan Hunter, who was best known for his love of vaping as well as engaging in corruption and using his campaign funds to enrich himself and his wife; George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign advisor who was sentenced to prison as part of the Mueller investigation; former member of Congress Chris Collins, convicted of insider trading and who the Guardian notes “is a longtime Trump ally and was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president”: and Alfonso Costa, a former dentist convicted of healthcare fraud and who is, via the Guardian, a “close friend of Ben Carson.”
But most galling is Trump’s pardoning of the four Blackwater mercenaries—Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten—who in 2007 massacred 14 people, including a nine-year-old child named Ali, when they opened fire on a crowd of people in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has shown an affinity for war criminals. Last November, Trump granted clemency to three soldiers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
It makes a sort of twisted sense that Trump would use his powers to benefit people convicted of corruption, fraud, and war crimes. He is, after all, probably imagining he may need a pardon for some of those very same crimes in the future.