Trump grants clemency to 20 people

With the end of his term in sight, U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday (December 22) set in motion a wave of pardons.

Twenty in all - including people convicted in the Russia investigation and three former Republican congressmen convicted of financial crimes.

There's a full pardon for George Papadopoulos: a campaign advisor for the 2016 presidential race.

Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty in 2017 of lying to FBI agents about his Russian contacts during the investigation into Moscow's meddling in the election.

The man who led the probe, Robert Mueller, had called his crime "serious."

But the White House defended the pardon, saying it helped "correct the wrong that Mueller's team inflicted on so many people."

Another pardon went to lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, also convicted of lying to investigators during the Mueller probe.

Both men have served short prison sentences.

The three ex-GOP lawmakers on the clemency list were convicted of crimes from securities fraud to misuse of campaign funds.

Also listed are four former U.S. service members serving time for killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007.

Tuesday's pardons by the outgoing president had been expected.

And they may not be his last before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

Video Transcript

- With the end of his term in sight, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday set in motion a wave of pardons, 20 in all, including people convicted in the Russia investigation and three former Republican congressmen convicted of financial crimes.

There's a full pardon for George Papadopoulos, a campaign advisor for the 2016 presidential race. Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty in 2017 of lying to FBI agents about his Russia contacts during the investigation into Moscow's meddling in the election.

The man who led the probe, Robert Mueller, had called his crime serious, but the White House defended the pardon, saying it helped, quote, "correct the wrong that Mueller's team inflicted on so many people."

Another pardon went to lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, also convicted of lying to investigators during the Mueller probe. Both men have served short prison sentences. The three ex-GOP-lawmakers on the clemency list were convicted of crimes from securities fraud to misuse of campaign funds.

Also listed are four former US service members serving time for killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007.

Tuesday's pardons by the outgoing president had been expected, and they may not be his last before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.