WASHINGTON, December 23. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump pardoned 15 people on Tuesday, including two people convicted as part of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 US election.
Besides, the US leader commuted part or all of the sentences of an additional 5 individuals, the White House press service said.
Among those pardoned by Trump is former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who was convicted in September 2018 for giving false statements to the FBI as part of Mueller’s inquiry. Later, Mueller stated in his report that he had found no evidence of collusion in connection with Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election. Nonetheless, the special counsel’s team still charged Papadopoulos with a process-related crime.
Another person pardoned by Trump was Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer from the Netherlands who pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in 2018 in connection to the special counsel’s inquiry.
Trump also granted pardon to former congressmen Duncan Hunter (convicted for misusing campaign funds) and Christopher Collins, who pled guilty to the charges of conspiring to commit securities fraud and making false statements to the FBI in 2019.
The US intelligence services incriminate Russia of meddling in the 2016 US elections. These alleged influence attempts were investigated by former head of FBI Robert Mueller for almost two years. On April 18, 2019, the US Department of Justice made public his final report where the US special counselor acknowledged that no collusion has taken place between Russian authorities and the US presidential candidate Donald Trump who had won the election. Trump himself repeatedly denied suspicions of any wrongful contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign. Moscow also repeatedly denied rumors of attempts to influence the US elections. Recently, FBI director Christopher Wray made a statement that Russia allegedly continues active attempts to influence the US electoral process through "malign foreign influence."