UPDATED 8:18 AM PT – Wednesday, December 23, 2020
President Trump issued another round of pardons for the recent victims of politically motivated prosecutions. In a sweeping decision on Tuesday, the President pardoned 15 people and commuted the sentences of five others.
Among them were two former congressmen, Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). Collins was sentenced to over two years in federal prison for helping his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses. This came after learning that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed. Hunter, on the other hand, was sentenced to 11 months for misusing $150,000 in campaign funds for his own personal expenses.
“I think this president knows what a political witch-hunt looks like,” Hunter said. “He saw through the political baloney, God bless him. There’s no better Christmas present, especially for my family.”
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the pardons were largely recommended by several members of Congress.
The President also pardoned former Ukraine lobbyist Alex van der Zwaan and his 2016 campaign advisor George Papadopoulos. Van der Zwaan and Papadopoulos are the third and fourth defendants in the Russia investigation to be granted clemency.
The move is part of a larger effort by President Trump to correct the wrong that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation inflicted on half a dozen of his associates.
Additionally, the President issued pardons for four former employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, who were convicted on charges related to civilian casualties in Iraq in 2007. Other pardons and commutations involved small drug and non-violent offenses.