An angry backlash on Wednesday met President Donald Trump’s pardon of corrupt Republican Congressmen and security forces who were convicted of the murder of 14 civilians in a 2007 Baghdad massacre.
Following the pattern of previous announcements, Trump on Tuesday expanded the executive’s grace to include those who showed strong political support for him, as well as former soldiers and police officers convicted of murder in workplace shootings.
Iraqis expressed outrage and sadness after Trump apologized for the four Blackwater security companies convicted of murder and manslaughter in the Nisur Square massacre six years ago.
The four former US soldiers unprovoked opened fire in the crowded square in 2007, killing at least 14 civilians – although Iraqi authorities put the toll at 17 – while wounding dozens more and putting a deep strain on US-Iraq relations.
Previous administrations were unwilling to intervene in the litigation.
But the now deceased owner of Blackwater was Erik Prince, a close Trump supporter and brother of Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
“I knew we would never get justice,” Fares Saadi, the Iraqi policeman who led the investigation, told AFP.
A former classmate of a medical student killed in Nisur called the pardons “an outrage” but said they were not surprising.
“For them, our blood is cheaper than water and our demands for justice and accountability are just a nuisance,” said the classmate for reasons of anonymity.
Retired US General Mark Hertling, who served in Iraq, described the Blackwater pardon as “outrageous and gross.”
“This was a subtle war crime that resulted in the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians. Shame on you, Mr. President,” Hertling tweeted, using the higher death toll.
Trump also apologized to two men convicted of investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign and pardoned three former Republican lawmakers who identified the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Monitoring Group in Washington as “three of the most corrupt members of Congress in the younger History “. “
All five were vocal supporters of Trump.
“The message Trump sent tonight is clear: no matter how horrific your crime, justice doesn’t apply to you if you are loyal to it,” CREW said.
According to analysis by Harvard University law professor Jack Goldsmith and an assistant, Matthew Gluck, at least 42 of the 65 pardons Trump has issued to date should “drive a political agenda,” while only five of the official White House pardons recommended became a lawyer.
Those pardoned, or those whose sentences have been commuted, include others convicted as part of the meddling investigation in Russia, as well as a broad mix of pro-Trump activists convicted of criminal offenses.
Trump also stunned Florida prosecutors Tuesday when he commuted the jail term of Philip Esformes, a healthcare tycoon who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2019 for breaking the $ 44 million federal Medicare program largest Medicare fraud case of all time.
While Esformes had no apparent ties to Trump, he was backed by several influential former Republican attorneys-general and prosecutors who supported the president.
“The power of pardon is not the president’s personal tool to protect himself and his friends,” said Democratic Senator Mark Warner on Wednesday.
Trump is believed to weigh other pardons, including members of his family, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and possibly himself, to protect himself from potential litigation after stepping down Jan. 20.
That could spark new outrage, but it would probably be difficult to reverse.
Trump is also being pressured by libertarian and civil rights groups to apologize to three people involved in sharing national security intelligence – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, and another former NSA reality winner .
US diplomats and intelligence officials are strongly against pardoning one of the three.
Others known to apologize include former U.S. soldier Robert Bale, who was convicted of the murder of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012, and Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, the star of the successful Netflix documentary “Tiger King” convicted of attempting to hire a man to murder a rival.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)