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Trump Issues Raft of Pardons, Including Two for FBI’s Russia-Hoax Victims

Entering into the final 30 days of his first term, President Donald Trump followed a long tradition of so-called lame-duck presidents in issuing pardons.

Trump’s pardons included two people convicted in connection with the FBI’s Russia-collusion hoax, four Blackwater guards convicted of partaking in the killing of Iraqi civilians, and three Republican ex-Congress members, the New York Times reported.

Among them were George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign energy adviser who served roughly two weeks in jail as the result of and FBI perjury trap related to the Russia-collusion probe that would become the Mueller investigation.

Papadopoulos was, ostensibly, the official who was first informed of Russia’s plan to release damaging information hacked from Hillary Clinton campaign officials and the Democratic National Committee.

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However, many have speculated that he was set up by Western intelligence sources, including the CIA, in order to provide the justification for Obama’s intelligence community to spy on Trump’s campaign.

Papadopoulos himself has said that he encountered a peanut gallery of shady covert operatives including Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, US-born Cambridge professor Stefan Halper and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who all sought to embroil him in a nonexistent conspiracy.

Like Papadopoulos, European lawyer Alex van der Zwaan also was convicted by the Mueller special counsel’s office of making false statements to interrogators, although there was no underlying crime.

Van der Zwaan was one of eight attorney working with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, who were accused of lobbying on behalf of Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.

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Trump already has made a handful of high-profile pardons. He commuted the sentence of adviser Roger Stone, the last person charged by Mueller, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mueller’s campaign also indicted several Russian nationals accused of involvement in a disinformation campaign during the 2016 election, but those were dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Manafort was indicted of other process crimes including failure to register as a foreign agent and tax fraud, and he is currently believed to be serving his sentence in a Virginia prison.

The three congressional Republicans pardoned by Trump were Duncan Hunter of California, Chris Collins of New York and Steve Stockman of Texas.

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