On Tuesday, incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump granted a list of pardons, including two individuals connected to a probe into an alleged conspiracy between his campaign and Russia as the presidential transmission is fast approaching.
The action drew criticism and came as the outgoing Republican leader appeared to refuse to concede defeat to Democrat President-Elect Joe Biden.
The pardons issued last Tuesday were in addition to a list that was earlier issued as President Trump is due to leave office on January 20.
In a statement, the White House said that President Trump had decided to give full pardons to 15 people and took back all or part of the rulings for five others.
George Papadopoulos, President Trump's former campaign adviser and a member of the foreign policy advisory panel when he ran for president in 2016, was given a full pardon. He pleaded guilty to lying about his link with a professor who promised to connect him to senior Russian officials to federal investigators in October 2017. He spent 12 days in jail after his guilty plea.
The White House statement said, "Today's pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller's team inflicted on so many people."
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Alex van der Zwaan was granted a full pardon, too. He is a Dutch lawyer who was also sentenced due to a connection with Mueller's probe.
The four Blackwater security guards involved in the 2007 Iraqis killing were also granted full pardons.
Also pardoned was Nicholas Slatten, who had been sentenced to life after he was found guilty of opening fire in Nisur Square, Baghdad on September 16, 2007, which turned bloody and caused an international scandal and delicate antipathy of the American presence.
The shooting killed at least 14 Iraqi civilians and wounded 17 while continuing U.S. security contractors' image run amok. The Blackwater guards said they acted in self-defense in retort to insurgent fire.
In the same statement, the White House said, "the four men, former members of the military have a long history of service to the nation."
Others included on the list were three former Republican congressmen.
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also aired their opinion on the Blackwater security contractors' pardon granted by Trump.
The director of the ACLU's National Security Project, Hina Shamsi, said "President Trump has hit a disgraceful new low with the Blackwater pardons. These military contractors were convicted for their role in killing 17 Iraqi civilians and their actions caused devastation in Iraq, shame and horror in the United States, and a worldwide scandal. President Trump insults the memory of the Iraqi victims and further degrades his office with this action."
Rapper Kodak Black, arrested on firearms charges, had reached out to Trump to give him a presidential pardon vowing to donate $ 1 million to charity in his first year of freedom. He was, however, not among those who were recently granted a presidential pardon.