President Trump issued the second pardon of his presidency
Friday to former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, who learned the news
while driving a garbage truck, the only job he could find with a felony
Saucier was sentenced to a year in prison during the 2016 campaign
for taking pictures inside a nuclear submarine. Trump invoked his case
repeatedly on the campaign trail, saying he was “ruined” for doing
“nothing” compared to Hillary Clinton.
Still, Trump allowed Saucier to serve his full prison sentence. He was released in September and returned to the Vermont home he shares with his wife Sadie and their two-year-old daughter.
Saucier, now 31, was 22 years old when he took the cellphone photos
in 2009. He pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized retention of
national defense information and his attorneys unsuccessfully requested
the "Clinton deal," meaning little if any punishment.
The six photos found on a cellphone Saucier discarded were deemed
“confidential,” the lowest level of classification, even though some
depicted the vessel’s nuclear reactor. Clinton, by contrast, sent and
received highly classified information on a private email server. In
pleading guilty, Saucier admitted to destroying evidence after being
Saucier told the Washington Examiner earlier this year that a felony conviction made it hard to find work. He works as a garbage man to support his family. While in prison, the family's cars were repossessed and his home is in foreclosure.
“We’re struggling,” Saucier said in January, describing
frequent calls from credit card debt collectors and an electricity bill
payment plan. “No one will hire me because I’m a felon ... All the
skills I worked so hard for in the military are useless.”
Before the pardon, Saucier had several months left of wearing an ankle monitor.
"When Kris gets home from work, when he gets to the door, I'm going to be a little emotional," Sadie Saucier told the Washington Examiner. "I can't believe it happened, I don't think it's set in yet."
Sadie Saucier said she notified her husband of the pardon via text
message as he drove his garbage truck through a mountainous area with
"I just was able to say 'Hey' via a text message, 'You got a pardon.'
All he said was, 'What!' with a big exclamation point," she said.
"I am very grateful," Sadie Saucier said. "It's going to be a huge
for our family. And a huge reality when probation calls and the ankle
monitor is taken off, that's going to be a big one."
Hints of movement on Saucier's case came last week, when his attorney Ronald Daigle told media outlets, including the Washington Examiner, that the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney requested additional personal details
about Saucier, after initially refusing to process his pardon request
last year, citing a standard five-year waiting period following
Trump has only used his constitutional clemency power twice before.
Trump gave his first pardon in August to political ally and
anti-illegal immigration hardliner Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of
Maricopa County, Ariz., who was awaiting sentencing for criminal
contempt for allegedly ignoring a federal judge's order. Trump's other
use of clemency came in December, when he gave a prison commutation to Sholom Rubashkin,
a kosher meatpacking executive whose fraud conviction was decried as
unjust by many former officials. Rubashkin's crime was discovered after
his business was busted employing nearly 400 illegal immigrants in a single work shift.