Update at 2 a.m. ET on Wednesday
Perpetrators of a massacre, perjurers, corrupt politicians, money launderers, nonviolent convicted drug dealers and a 1950s moonshine-maker are among those whom President Trump granted clemency on Tuesday, ahead of the Christmas holiday.
In all, Trump granted full pardons to 15 individuals and commuted part or all of the sentences of an additional 5.
Among the high-profile pardons are three former Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds; Trump also singled out George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser who was charged in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation; four Blackwater mercenaries who were convicted for killing civilians in Iraq; and two Border Patrol agents who attempted to cover up their shooting of a Mexican national fleeing arrest.
The move comes as activists have lobbied Trump to use his executive powers to help prisoners who are serving what they view as unduly long sentences.
Before this latest batch, Trump had issued 28 pardons and 16 commutations during his time in office.
Presidents traditionally have granted a large number of pardons and commutations before leaving office, especially when dealing with controversial cases. Trump is expected to follow that path, but he has not shied away from granting clemency in high-profile cases, even early on in his presidency.
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In 2007, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard were working as Blackwater guards on an assignment to protect a U.S. convoy in Baghdad. But a jury found they instead ambushed innocent civilians without provocation. On Sept. 16 2007, the ex-guards opened fire with machine guns and grenade launchers in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing the 14 unarmed civilians and wounding 17 others. All four men were convicted in 2014 for