Updated Dec 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's pardon spree begins

Presiden Trump
Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Trump began his expected pardon spree on Tuesday, issuing 20 pardons and commutations.

Driving the news: Convicted former GOP Reps. Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins — the first two congressmen to endorse Trump in the 2016 election — and Russia probe figures George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan were among the wave of 15 pardons and five commutations.

Trump also granted clemency to:

  • Former GOP Rep. Steve Stockman, who has been serving a 10-year sentence for misusing charitable funds. His sentence was commuted.
  • Four military contractors involved in the 2007 killings of more than dozen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were all serving long prison sentences. They received pardons.

Between the lines: These won't necessarily be Trump's last pardons or commutations before he leaves office. As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported earlier this month, the president has been discussing handing out pardons "like Christmas gifts."

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

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