U.S. President Donald Trump waves before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., December 12, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued pardons to 15 people, including those convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and commuted some or all of the criminal sentence of five others.
Those granted pardons include former congressmem Duncan Hunter of California, New York’s Chris Collin, and Steve Stockman of Texas. Collins, who was convicted of crimes related to tipping off his son about non-public information about a drug company, was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s campaign as president in 2015.
Trump has been notably stingy with granting executive clemency, which includes pardons and sentence commutations, compared with previous presidents.
Trump had previously issued just 28 pardons and commuted the criminal sentences of 16 other people, according to the Justice Department, a sharply lower rate than that of even other one-term presidents.
Trump’s pardons have included ones to financial fraudster Michael Milken; press baron Conrad Black; former Arizona sheriff Joe Arapaio, who was convicted of contempt of court; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former advisor to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney for obstruction of justice; conservative gadfly Dinesh D’Souza, for campaign contribution fraud; and ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, for tax and other crimes.
Beneficiaries of his prison sentence commutations also have included former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell an appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when the latter became president.
Trump previously issued pardons to several dead people, among them the early 20th century Black boxing champion Jack Johnson, for the crime of crossing state lines with his white girlfriend, and Susan B. Anthony, the 19th suffragette convicted of illegal voting.
Trump also pardoned the late scientist Zay Jeffries, who was convicted of engaging in anticompetitive conduct in violation of the Sherman antitrust law in 1948, the year President Harry Truman awarded him the Presidential Medal of Merit for work during World War II, which included contributions to the Manhattan Project.
Trump in August pardoned Alice Marie Johnson, a woman convicted of cocaine distribution conspiracy. The president two years earlier had commuted Johnson’s sentence of life imprisonment after lobbying on her behalf by the reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.
The only other one-term president in the past 30 years, Trump’s fellow Republican George H.W. Bush, by comparison pardoned 74 people and issued commutations for three others.
Obama, who served two terms in office before Trump, pardoned 212 people, or more than six times the number pardoned by Trump in half of that time. Obama commuted the sentences of more than 1,700 people.
The last Republican to serve two terms, George W. Bush, pardoned 189 people, and commuted 11 sentences.