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Two men convicted in Russia probe among 15 pardoned by Donald Trump

He issued the pardons even as he refused to publicly acknowledge his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump
Image: PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has pardoned 15 people including two men convicted of lying to investigators in a probe into the president’s election campaign.

George Papadopoulos, Trump’s 2016 campaign adviser whose conversation unwittingly helped trigger the Russia investigation that shadowed Trump’s presidency for nearly two years, was among those pardoned.

He also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump’s actions in his final weeks in office show a president who is wielding his executive power to reward loyalists and others who he believes have been wronged by a legal system he sees as biased against him and his allies.

He issued the pardons – not an unusual act for an outgoing president – even as he refused to publicly acknowledge his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who will be sworn in on 20 January.

Also in the group announced last night were four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.

Supporters of Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide, had lobbied for pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted by problems and withheld exculpatory evidence.

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All four were serving lengthy prison sentences.

Last month, Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and months earlier commuted the sentence of another associate, Roger Stone, days before he was to report to prison.

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