- Pre-Christmas clemency has been bestowed on a number of people by Donald Trump
- Trump's presidential pardon came amid heightened political tension surrounding transition into the Joe Biden government
- Those pardoned include three former "disgraced" senators and Trump's ex-campaign aide George Papadopoulos
With less than a month to vacate the Oval Office, President Donald Trump has granted a presidential pardon to 15 people including his ex-campaign aide George Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos was pardoned alongside Alex van der Zwaan, another conspirator who pleaded guilty to lying during the investigation into Russian's interference in the 2016 election, The Guardian reports.
Three former Republican US lawmakers including 70-year-old Chris Collins (New York), 44-year-old Duncan Hunter (California) and Steve Stockman of Texas were also pardoned.
They have been in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI).
Others on the pardon list are Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten, and Dustin Heard. They were serving lengthy prison terms after fingered in the killings of civilians in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from the Democratic Party have described the pardon as a misstep, arguing that some of those pardoned do not deserve it.
The Democratic California representative Katie Porter said:
“These corrupt politicians don’t deserve a pardon. The appalling decision by the president."
Joyce Alene, a law professor at the University of Alabama also questioned the morality behind the development.
“Are you still a pro-law enforcement President after you pardon killers of a 9-year old & an 11-year old?”
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Michael Flynn finally got off the hook as he was granted a presidential pardon by President Trump, meaning he will now have "a truly fantastic thanksgiving."
The announcement of the pardon to the US former national security adviser was made on Wednesday, November 25, by President Trump in a tweet.
The long-awaited mercy is coming months after Flynn was fired following his admittance and guilty plea to lying to the FBI about contacts with a Russian official.
A former trusted Trump surrogate on his campaign trail in 2016, Flynn, a retired general, has not been convicted but his pardon has courted a widespread criticism.
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