We knew it was coming, but it's jarring all the same.

We knew sometime before Christmas, especially with the departure of Attorney General Bill Barr, that Donald Trump was about to starting handing out pardons to the least deserving people in American society. We assumed most of them would be loyalty pardons, get-out-of-jail-free cards for people who either committed crimes for him or lied to the feds about crimes Trump was involved in.

We knew all this, but ugh. Every time you think that man has hit rock bottom, every time you think you cannot personally loathe him more as a human being, he says "Hold my Big Mac" and does something atrocious. (He'd hold the Big Mac while he committed the atrocities, were his hands not so little.)

Trump pardoned 15 people last night, and commuted sentences for five more. Let's count them down "12 Days of Christmas"-style:

  • 4 mass-murdering homicidal maniacs who used to work for Betsy DeVos's sadistic little brother Erik Prince's Blackwater outfit, who slaughtered 17 innocent and unarmed Iraqis in Nisour Square in 2007. They executed children. These pardons were particularly pushed by Fox News idiot Pete Hegseth, the one who doesn't wash his hands, and seems to have a hard-on for war criminals, in general. It was also pushed by the very lowest of the GOP garbage in Congress, like Reps. Louie Gohmert and Steve King.
  • 3 corrupt former Republican congressmen who licked Trump's ass earliest and oftenest: Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins, and Steve Stockman. Apparently GOP skidmarks in Congress were really lobbying for their boys here. Hunter and Collins, of course, were the first two GOP members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump. Happy Christmas, boys!
  • 2 useless fucks convicted in Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian attack on the 2016 election for Donald Trump's benefit, George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan. Both were guilty of lying to the FBI to cover up various parts of the conspiracy.
  • Some other people you haven't heard of.

People are appalled by the Nisour Square pardons, obviously, but it should also be noted that it took the Justice Department seven years to get those convictions, so this is a personal fuck you to them too.


Here's journalist Mehdi Hasan laying Erik Prince out on his Aryan ass over the Nisour Square massacre, as well as the times he's referred to the people Blackwater was fighting/murdering as "barbarians who crawled out of the sewer." Prince claimed he was just talking about terrorists, but Hasan noted that it really sounded like Prince was just talking about Iraqis in general. Also Prince said the convictions were fake news because it was a "DC jury."

We're sure Prince's preemptive pardon is coming soon.

When you're done with that video, here's Jeremy Scahill's documentary "Blackwater's Youngest Victim," about Ali Kinani, the nine-year-old child who was murdered by the men Donald Trump just pardoned. (Click here for more backstory.)

Blackwater's Youngest Victim www.youtube.com

Trump has pardoned vile war criminals before. We don't know if it's just that deep down, Trump thinks people who murder Muslim children in cold blood are really cool, but we're sure that's part of it. We also, though, think it has something to do with his fundamental misunderstanding of the military, and his assumption that because he's dead inside, everybody else is too. He doesn't like troops who get captured like John McCain, because he thinks they're losers. He clearly sees as manly the ones who chop heads off indiscriminately and live to have their PTSD underserved by the VA. And so we think he, in his apparently diseased brain, assumes the military must also feel that way.

They don't.

As for the others, former Rep. Duncan Hunter was about to start an 11-month prison sentence for scamming ALLLLL the money from his campaign account. Former Rep. Chris Collins was already in prison for ALLLLLL the insider trading and lying to the FBI. (Did Trump mention fuck the FBI? Because he really doesn't like the FBI.)

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, well, his story was kinda confusing, but as the Washington Post notes, he was also in prison, having been "convicted in 2018 of conspiring to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations that were meant for charity and voter education." Know who was pushing for his pardon? THE KRAKHEAD! AKA Sidney Powell, who is just at the White House all the time now.

And as for the other others, the ones tied to the Mueller investigation, George Papadopoulos is the douche whose drunk disclosure to an Australian diplomat about Russia helping steal the 2016 election, which Pap lied to the FBI about — fuck you, FBI! — kicked off the entire Crossfire Hurricane investigation in the first place. We literally never want to type his name again after this.

Alex van der Zwaan lied to the FBI — fuck you, FBI! — about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, the literal actual Russian spy Paul Manafort was passing secret Rust Belt polling data to, which we are pretty damn sure was intended for Putin's favorite oligarch Oleg Deripaska, for the purposes of helping Trump steal the 2016 election. Fun facts about van der Zwaan: He likes long walks on the beach, and his father-in-law is a Russian oligarch named German Khan, who is the co-owner of Alfa Bank in Moscow. Yes that Alfa Bank, the one with the weird computer server that only communicated with a Trump organization computer server during the campaign, for reasons never explained.

So all of this is fun. Like we said, it was expected, but it's still jarring and makes you sick to your stomach. Especially the Nisour Square murderers.

At some point, Congress and the judiciary are going to have to look at the presidential pardon power, which is supposed to be a good thing, but as we can see, in the wrong hands, it's a plaything for a tyrant gone mad. Pardons are supposed to be about mercy, righting historical injustices, and the like. They're not supposed to be for people who murder people the president doesn't like, or people who lick his ass the right way. Of course, Trump thinks he has an Article II that says he can do whatever he wants, but there are limits to the pardon power. For instance, it can't be part of a bribe, or for otherwise corrupt purposes. We don't have all the evidence in front of us right here, but we are sure prosecutors will be looking through these pardons soon enough.

But whatever, what's done is done. Child murderers and some other garbage are going home for Christmas. Thanks, Trump! And maybe some of the other pardons he gave out are deserved.

And we know he's not done. Bill Barr's last official day is today, and some people think he got out when he did at least partially because some of the pardons coming even he couldn't stomach. So relax, Paul Manafort, you're going to be free to run around and help dictators commit atrocities and steal American elections for shit-mouthed tyrants before you know it!

Twenty-eight more days of this. Twenty-eight days.

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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