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CNN host on Trump pardons: ‘It’s a good night to be a corrupt republican congressman’
This batch includes former Republican lawmakers, two Russia probe figures and four military contractors involved in a massacre of civilians in Iraq.
CNN’s John Berman took aim at Donald Trump on Tuesday after the president announced a slew of pardons just weeks before leaving office.
The White House said Trump will grant full pardons to 15 individuals and commute part or all of the sentences of five more people. Among them are three former GOP congressmen who had committed financial crimes, two subjects of the Russia investigation, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killings of Iraqi civilians, and two former Border Patrol agents who shot an unarmed person crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It is a good night to be a corrupt Republican congressman, or a confessed liar from the Russia probe or a convicted murderer of Iraqi civilians,” Berman said. “With 29 days left in office, the president issued a first big wave of what could be a tsunami of pardons. This batch includes former Republican lawmakers, two Russia probe figures and four military contractors involved in a massacre of civilians in Iraq.”
CNN senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown said the pardons of former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, both of whom pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, could be seen as a way for the president to return the favor of loyalty by those who did not cooperate with federal investigators.
“What’s also interesting in this list ... are these two former border agents who were sentenced to prison for shooting an unarmed, undocumented immigrant. They were held as heroes, basically, in right-wing media at the time. They’re also on this list,” Brown added.
She noted that this was a common theme among the high-profile pardons on the list.
“We know the president is unorthodox in the way he’s gone about pardons,” she said. “He’s watched media ― Fox News and other outlets ― to get ideas of who he can pardon along with members of Congress and his own attorney Rudy Giuliani and many others.”