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Most presidents don’t pardon murderers. Trump did, and may again.

Where the military sees possible war crimes, President Donald Trump sees injustice.
He is considering Memorial Day pardons for a number of US service members either convicted of or facing trial for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And by some strange coincidence, he is considering these pardons as the most notorious of American war prisoners — the “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh — is scheduled to be released Thursday, after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence.
The presidential power to pardon is near-absolute in the Constitution — “except in cases of impeachment.”
But no previous recent president has pardoned a murderer. Until Trump.
People march to demand the release of Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera near the White House in Washington, DC, on January 11, 2017, shortly before Obama commuted his sentence.
There have been other cases of clemency for killers, as when President Barack Obama downgraded death sentences to life without parole, but the vast majority of pardons are for nonviolent crimes. Data on the Justice Department’s website includes the nature of a pardoned person’s crime only back through George H.W. Bush. Note: Most murders are prosecuted at the state and not the federal level.
Obama and President Bill Clinton also commuted the sentences of violent revolutionaries fighting for Puerto Rican independence responsible for multiple bombings in the US during the ’70s and ’80s. But they gave clemency only to those whose crimes had not led to deaths.
Trump crossed that line this month when he pardoned Michael Behenna, who had been sentenced to prison in 2009 for unpremeditated murder in the killing of an Iraqi detainee and released on parole in 2014 after his sentence was reduced.
That Trump is considering other pardons for military crimes on a short timeline before Memorial Day took the Department of Justice and the Pentagon by surprise and added new context to the pardon power, which he’s already used to reward political allies and send political messages.