President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as presidentFox News’ DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retireMORE on Wednesday granted clemency to more than 100 people in one of his final acts as commander-in-chief, including his former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon.
Trump announced a wave of pardons and commutations shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Bannon, rapper Lil Wayne, GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were among the notable figures to receive clemency, along with dozens of lower profile individuals whose cases were raised by criminal justice reform advocates.
Trump granted clemency to 143 individuals in total hours before leaving office: 73 received pardons, while 70 were granted commutations.
The Bannon pardon was perhaps the most surprising of the batch, given the former Breitbart News editor had a high-profile falling out with the Trump family after denigrating Donald Trump Jr. in Michael Wolffs 2018 book, Fire and Fury.
“Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in announcing Bannon’s pardon.
Bannon was a top adviser on Trumps 2016 campaign and served as the chief White House strategist for roughly seven months. He was arrested and charged last August with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors who contributed to a fundraising campaign for a private border wall.
The president reportedly went back and forth over whether to grant clemency to Bannon before deciding to do so.
Trump, who had branded Bannon as sloppy Steve upon the release of Wolffs book, distanced himself from his former adviser upon news of the charges.
I don’t like that project. I thought it was being done for showboating reasons, Trump said at the time. It was something that I very much felt was inappropriate to be doing.
Trump also pardoned Broidy, a former top Republican National Committee (RNC) fundraiser, who was charged last year with conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent as part of a back channel effort to lobby the Justice Department.
Kilpatrick, the former Democratic mayor of Detroit, was convicted in 2008 of perjury and obstruction of justice.
And Lil Wayne faces prison time after pleading guilty to federal gun charges. The rapper, whose birth name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., met with Trump on the campaign trail in a meeting the campaign later touted as it courted Black voters.
Trump also commuted the sentence of Bill Kapri, better known as the rapper Kodak Black, who sentenced to 46 months in prison for making a false statement on a federal document. He had served less than half of his sentence.
The president issued pardons to several individuals who were charged with non-violent drug offenses, including Tena Logan, MaryAnne Locke and Caroline Yeats and. Alice Johnson, who Trump pardoned and who became a face of the White House’s criminal justice reform efforts, advocated for several of the individuals granted clemency on Wednesday.
Johnson was among those who advocated for clemency for Kilpatrick as well.
Trump has come under scrutiny for favoring political allies and well connected individuals in doling out pardons and commutations. Past recipients of clemency include ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump preparing another 100 pardons, commutations before leaving office: reportsNo pardon for Trump Michael Cohen predicts people Trump pardoned may testify against himMORE, longtime Trump associate Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneTrump preparing another 100 pardons, commutations before leaving office: reportsVice chair of Oregon Young Republicans group among those arrested at CapitolTrump supporters show up to DC for election protestMORE and ex-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Following his election loss, Trump issued two sizable patches of pardons last month, including those for ex-Republican lawmakers Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsGOP senator on Trump pardons: ‘It is legal, it is constitutional, but I think it’s a misuse of the power’Nothing becomes Donald Trump’s presidency like his leaving itPardoning elected officials sends the wrong messageMORE and Duncan HunterDuncan HunterGOP senator on Trump pardons: ‘It is legal, it is constitutional, but I think it’s a misuse of the power’Nothing becomes Donald Trump’s presidency like his leaving itPardoning elected officials sends the wrong messageMORE; his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort; longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone; and Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump preparing another 100 pardons, commutations before leaving office: reportsElection misinformation dropped 73 percent following Trump’s suspension from Twitter: researchThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: What to expect for inaugurationMOREs father. He also pardoned Michael Flynn, his onetime national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in connection with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AGBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counselCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened TrumpMOREs investigation.
There had been much speculation leading up to Tuesdays announcement about who Trump would ultimately choose to grant clemency in his waning hours as president. Some Republicans had pushed for Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeGlenn Greenwald discusses UK judge’s rejection of US extradition request for AssangeWill a British court’s decision take Assange off the hook permanently?Assange denied bail in UKMORE or former National Security Agency official Edward Snowden, but neither was given clemency.
Presidents typically issue a flurry of pardons or commutations in their final day in office. There was speculation in recent weeks that Trump would move to preemptively pardon himself or his adult children to shield them from federal charges after leaving office. Trump opted against doing so, though he still faces a Senate impeachment trial in the coming weeks and the prospect of state investigations.
Trump is slated to leave Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, foregoing the usual practice of attending the incoming presidents inauguration. Trump will be sent off with a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews outside the district. Meanwhile, Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrestedTrump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as presidentTrump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, BrazilMORE will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States around noon during a pared-down ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.