3 war criminals plus 7 more of Trump’s worst pardons

Trump pardons

Source / Wikimedia

One of the president’s most significant executive privileges is the ability to grant clemency. Through issuing commutations and pardons, Trump can either reduce prison sentences or just straight-up forgive federal crimes.

It’s a privilege all presidents have held, of course. But as with most of the powers that come with the Oval Office, Trump has used it more for his own agenda than for the good of the country.

In light of Trump’s most recent acts of clemency, let’s take a look at the worst people Trump has helped escape consequences.

1. Clint Lorance

Trump's 7 worst pardons

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Former Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance was convicted in 2013 on two charges of second-degree murder. Lorance ordered soldiers to shoot at three unarmed Afghan men. He also threatened to kill a local man’s family if he didn’t turn in IEDs, and ordered soldiers to unleash gunfire in a village for no discernible reason. One soldier from his platoon described Lorance as being “out of control” and having a “taste for blood.”

Since being pardoned, Lorance has said he believes Trump’s “deep state conspiracy:” the idea that every single person Trump dislikes is involved in a grand scheme to undermine his rule. Lorance is also considering a career in politics. If he goes down that route, it’s very likely he’ll stand behind the man who helped him get away with murder.

2. Rod Blagojevich

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Just this week, Trump announced that he would be commuting the prison sentence of Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois.

Blagojevich was impeached and removed as governor on corruption charges in 2009. The governor was charged with attempting to solicit bribes for political appointments—including the vacancy left by Barack Obama when he left the U.S. Senate after being elected to president in 2008. The former governor was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.

Trump claims the sentence was too harsh:

“He served eight years in jail, a long time. I don’t know him very well. I met him a couple of times. He was on for a short while on ‘The Apprentice’ some years ago. He seems like a very nice person. I don’t know him.”

3. Joe Arpaio

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Source / Flickr: Gage Skidmore

“America’s Toughest Sheriff” was Trump’s first presidential pardon. Back in 2011, a judge ordered Arpaio to stop detaining people on baseless suspicions that they were undocumented immigrants. In 2017, Arpaio was found guilty of violating that order.  Trump pardoned him before he had even received a prison sentence.

Arpaio has a long history of terrorizing the Latino community in Arizona’s Maricopa County, which includes the city of Phoenix. In 1993, he opened an outdoor “Tent City” to hold undocumented immigrants, which he referred to as his own “concentration camp.” He was also one of Trump’s earliest supporters.

4. Mathew L. Golsteyn

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Pardoned at the same time as Lorance, Major Mathew L. Golsteyn admitted to killing an Afghan man back in 2010. He justified the murder by claiming that there existed suspicions that the Afghan built bombs for the Taliban. Trump pardoned him before his case could go to trial.

Since being pardoned, Goldsteyn has attempted to regain the Special Forces tab that the Army stripped from him. He also showed up with Trump at one of his fundraisers, acting as a convenient prop for Trump to use while bragging about his support of the troops.

5. Edward Gallagher

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Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher avoided the murder charges of which he was accused – but was found guilty of taking photos with the body of a teen ISIS fighter. He texted one of the pictures where he posed with the body to friends, bragging that he “got him with [his] hunting knife.”

His own platoon members claimed that he fired unprovoked shots at civilians, including a teen girl and an elderly man. They were pressured to keep quiet about his offenses.

After receiving his pardon, Gallagher took to Instagram to praise Trump, saying that the US was “blessed as a Nation to have a Commander-in-Chief that stands up for our warfighters.” The Navy demoted him by only one rank for his crime.

The war criminal was even invited to schmooze with the President at Mar-a-Lago.

6. Conrad Black

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Conrad Black, AKA Baron Black of Crossharbour, is a multimillionaire media mogul, who formerly owned the Daily Telegraph. He was convicted in 2007 of fraud and obstruction after siphoning $60 million from one of his companies.

What makes Black’s case stand out isn’t that the crime he committed was particularly egregious – rather, it’s the circumstances under which Trump pardoned him in 2019.

In 2018, Black published his book Donald J Trump: A President Like No Other. The biography piles extensive praises upon Trump. He had written other pieces favoring Trump, as well, dating all the way back to 2005.

Black claims that Trump told him that the pardon had nothing to do with the “supportive things” he wrote about Trump. But the White House did mention that Black was “the author of several notable biographies” while announcing the pardon, so, well… you be the judge of that.

7. Bernard Kerik

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Source / Flickr: Gage Skidmore

Kerik, the former police commissioner of New York City, was sentenced in 2010 for felonies that included lying to federal officials and tax frauds. As one of Trump’s most recent pardons, his crimes aren’t particularly unusual.

What makes Kerik stand out?

His ties to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. In 1993, he was Giuliani’s personal chauffeur and bodyguard. Giuliani was the one to later name Kerik correction commissioner and then police commissioner. And when announcing the pardons, Trump explicitly mentioned Giuliani as one of the people who advocated for Kerik.

Don’t be fooled – Trump’s actions aren’t motivated by justice or compassion. Instead, they’re just business as usual for this corrupt and crony-filled administration.

8. Paul Pogue

Trump has 'sabotaged' America's power to fight Coronavirus. Here's how.

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Another paid for pardon went to Paul Pogue, the owner of a construction company that was given three years probation for skipping out on $473,000 worth of his owed taxes.

The Daily Beast reports that the Pogue family was a big contributor to the Trump Victory Committee. Pogue’s son, Ben Pogue, donated over $200,000 in total.

9. and 10. Dwight and Steven Hammond

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Source / Pixabay

The Hammonds’ crimes reach back to 2001 when Steven Hammond allegedly started a fire to destroy evidence that he had illegally killed deer on federally-managed land. He’s accused of setting additional fires in 2006.

He and his father Dwight were originally given light sentences for the fires. But in 2015, they were resentenced to five years in prison, the mandatory length for such convictions.

Anger over the new sentence led armed protesters to take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. They held it for 41 days with only one death.

Wildlife advocates fear that the 2019 clemency could encourage others to take over federally protected land.

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