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Trump considering pardon for Blackwater contractor convicted in infamous Iraq massacre

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President Donald Trump is considering a pardon for a former Blackwater contractor convicted of murder in one of the most notorious atrocities from the Iraq war.

The president has been asking close advisers recently about pardoning Nicholas Slatten, who’s serving a life sentence on a first-degree murder conviction for his role in the 2007 massacre at the Nisour Square traffic circle in Baghdad, reported The Daily Beast.

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“He’s said he wants to do more,” said an administration official who discussed the case with Trump. “There are more warriors out there who he believes have been treated unfairly and whose [cases] need another look.”

Slatten, a former U.S. Army sniper-turned-Blackwater employee, would be the latest pardon of an accused war criminal — after Trump pardoned or restored in rank Clint Lorance, Matthew Golsteyn and Edward Gallagher.

Those pardons were promoted by Fox News host Pete Hegseth, an informal Trump adviser, and others in the president’s orbit, over the objections of veterans.

“(He) knows nothing about these individuals, or what goes on on the battlefield,” said Gary Solis, a retired Marine judge advocate, former West Point law professor and Vietnam combat veteran. “We’re talking about a multiple 4F-er, and yet he wants to play the general and the Fox News hero.”

Some of the president’s conservative allies have been trying to goad Trump into action by calling Slatten and three other Blackwater contractors “the Biden Four,” an apparent reference to a January 2010 news conference in Baghdad where the former vice president pledged to appeal a judge’s decision to dismiss their indictment over prosecutorial misconduct.

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“Joe Biden sided with Iraqi politicians over America’s own,” wrote Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who was indicted himself and later pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. “This is why I am calling these veterans ‘The Biden Four.’”

Slatten and other Blackwater contractors were accused of opening fire in September 2007 on a busy traffic circle hours after a car bomb went off nearby, killing over a dozen unarmed Iraqis and wounding another 17.

The case caused serious problems in U.S. diplomatic efforts to gain Iraqi trust in the American justice system, and clemency for Slatten would help unravel those gains at a particularly volatile time in the region.

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Blackwater was founded by Trump ally Erik Prince, who is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.


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2020 Election

If Democrats fight right-wing ‘fake news’ fire with fire, we all lose

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Democrats are increasingly worried about losing the 2020 presidential election to Donald Trump. The party is in seeming disarray from the botched Iowa caucuses and the failure of an "electable" frontrunner to emerge early in the primary season. Trump's fundraising and digital operations are humming, buoyed in part by his acquittal at the Senate trial which refused to remove him from office for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 elections and obstructing the House's investigation of it.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Soledad O’Brien shames 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team for photo-op with Trump while wearing MAGA hats

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In an early Sunday morning tweet, award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien expressed her dismay with members of the 1980 Gold Medal-winning Olympic hockey team for celebrating their historic win over the then-Soviet Union -- dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" -- with Donald Trump while wearing "Make America Great Again" hats.

According to O'Brien, seeing them hand Trump a photo-op filled her with "disappointment."

Taking to Twitter, she wrote, " Ugh.... so disappointed by the @1980MiracleTeam . I loved watching that game as a kid with my dad. Loved watching the movie with my kids. To see them on a stage, in maga hats—kinda crushing I have to say."

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2020 Election

‘Nice deflection, Mr President’: Adam Schiff busts Trump for trying to blame him for his leaky administration

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) took a shot at President Donald Trump on Sunday morning after the president tried to blame him for the leak describing a classified meeting lawmakers had with an intelligence official who warned the bipartisan group that the Kremlin is trying to help the president get re-elected.

As the president prepared to leave the White House for India, he told reporters that Schiff was to blame for the leaked meeting story, with the president insisting he personally had not been briefed on the report explosive report.

Responding to a 'Meet the Press" clip of the president making his accusation, Schiff tweeted back: "Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You’ve betrayed America. Again."

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