The Pardons: Here’s Who Will Benefit From Trump’s Article II Clemency Powers

Written by Wes Walker on December 23, 2020

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With the DOJ being caught red-handed in politically-aligned abuse of its prosecutorial powers, it’s only natural that the Constitutionally-provided remedy of Executive clemency would serve as the appropriate counterweight to such abuses.

So it was with the pardon of General Flynn earlier this year and some of the other politically-motivated prosecutions of Republican targets.

Here are some of the beneficiaries:

Those pardoned on Tuesday included former Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York, two of the earliest GOP lawmakers to back Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump also commuted the sentences of five other people, including former Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas.

…In the group announced Tuesday night were four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more 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. All four were serving lengthy prison sentences.

… Trump also announced pardons for two people entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. One was for 2016 campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a conversation in which he learned that Russia had dirt on Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The president also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators during the Mueller probe.

…Also among those pardoned by Trump was Phil Lyman, a Utah state representative who led an ATV protest through restricted federal lands.

Lyman was serving as a Utah county commissioner in 2014 when he led about 50 ATV riders in a canyon home to Native American cliff dwellings that officials closed to motorized traffic. The ride occurred amid a sputtering movement in the West pushing back against federal control of large swaths of land and came in the wake of an armed confrontation Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy had with Bureau of Land Management over grazing fees.

…Two former U.S. Border Patrol agents were also pardoned, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, convicted of shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler near El Paso, Texas, in 2005.

Others on the list included a Pittsburgh dentist who pleaded guilty to health care fraud, two women convicted of drug crimes, and Alfred Lee Crum, now 89, who pleaded guilty in 1952 when he was 19 to helping his wife’s uncle illegally distill moonshine. —SeattleTimes

Democrats, who have advocated for the non-prosecution of Antifa members and ‘mostly peaceful’ rioters through the past summer, together with the mass release of criminals for crimes they deem not worth pursuing have been predictably partisan about the pardons.

They seem to forget the variety of terrorists, criminals, or political friends and benefactors that have benefited from the pardon powers of earlier presidents.