The White House announced a new round of presidential pardons yesterday, granting clemency to several controversial figures. Among them were the perpetrators of the Nisour Square massacre and Duncan Hunter, a former California congressman who was indicted for illegally using campaign funds to purchase, among other items, video games on Steam.
Hunter, who was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2009, resigned late last year after pleading guilty to charges of misusing campaign funds in excess of $US150,000 ($197,925) on luxury items like overseas vacations and plane tickets for his family’s pet rabbits. That figure also included $US1,528.68 ($2,017) spent on Steam, though which games were bought remains a mystery. Hunter was set to serve up to 11 months in prison before being pardoned.
While obviously a lifelong dork, Hunter didn’t make waves on the national stage until fellow toddler Donald Trump was elected to the U.S. presidency. The congressman notably vaped during a 2016 Transportation Committee hearing on banning e-cigarette usage on planes, but mostly spent his career in Congress pushing the same conspiratorial bullshit you’d expect from a right-wing loser like him.
Trump also extended pardons to a group of Blackwater mercenaries who, in 2014, were found guilty in the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, including nine-year-old Ali Kinani. Blackwater, a private military contractor that has since been renamed twice, was founded in 2004 by Erik Prince, brother of U.S. secretary of education Betsy DeVos. The company is no longer allowed to operate in Iraq.
As if we needed another example of how the worst people in the world are all too often protected by those in power.