FACT CHECK: Did Richard Nixon Pardon John McCain For Treason?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims former President Richard Nixon pardoned the late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain for treason and four other counts.

Verdict: False

McCain was never charged with treason, nor was he pardoned by Nixon or any other president.

Fact Check:

McCain died in August 2018 after serving six terms in the Senate. During the Vietnam War, he was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for over five years, The New York Times reported. While being prisoner, McCain signed a “confession” to war crimes written by his captors, according to Business Insider. He was released and returned to the U.S. in 1973, while Nixon was president.

The viral post, seemingly referencing McCain’s “confession,” claims the late senator “was lucky not to have spent the rest of his life in jail” because Nixon pardoned him for five counts, including treason. That is, however, incorrect. (RELATED: Did Trump Tweet That He Has ‘Decided To Pardon Joe Exotic’?)

Check Your Fact didn’t find any credible media reports about the late senator being pardoned for treason or other charges. McCain’s name does not appear on the Department of Justice’s lists of pardons and commutations granted by Nixon or any other president after him. There has only been one treason case in the U.S. between 1954 and McCain’s death, according to CBS News.

The false claim that McCain was pardoned by Nixon has been circulating online since at least 2008, Snopes reported.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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