- President Donald Trump issued a clemency list Tuesday as one of his final actions in office.
- Trump was criticised for bypassing the DOJ review process covering who gets executive clemency.
- Steve Bannon, Lil Wayne, and Elliott Broidy were among the names on the list.
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President Donald Trump issued more than 140 pardons and commutations late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning as one of his final acts in office.
The Washington Post reported that Trump and close aides, including his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, drew up the list during a Sunday meeting in the Oval Office. The New York Times reported that Ivanka Trump sent the final list to the White House counsel’s office for approval and that the Justice Department’s pardon office, which typically reviews who is granted executive clemency, was not included in the process.
People on the list included:
- Former chief strategist Steve Bannon will be pardoned
- Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit will be granted a commutation
- Rapper Lil Wayne will be pardoned
- Rapper Kodak Black will be granted a commutation
- Former RNC finance chair Elliott Broidy will be pardoned
In total, the White House announced 73 pardons and 70 commutations in the latest round.
Numerous people at the centre of speculation about pardons and commutations did not appear on the president’s final list, including Rudy Giuliani, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Joe Exotic.
According to The Times, Trump came to his decision after consulting with the criminal-justice advocacy group Cut50, the former Koch Industries executive Mark Holden, and Alice Johnson, a criminal-justice-reform advocate who was convicted on drug-trafficking charges and sentenced to life in prison before Trump commuted her sentence and later granted her a full pardon.
Before the White House announced the latest pardons and commutations, a source told CNN that some Trump allies believed many of the recipients were people the president expected to enjoy beneficial relationships with after leaving office.
“Everything is a transaction,” the source told CNN. “He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favours for people he thinks will owe him.”
Last month, Trump pardoned 46 people and commuted the sentences of eight others. The list featured several people who had personal connections to the president. Others were not directly tied to Trump, but right-wing media figures had aggressively lobbied for their pardons.
Names on the list included:
- George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign-policy aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation.
- Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation.
- Roger Stone, a Republican strategist who was convicted in the Russia investigation of multiple felony counts of making false statements, obstruction, and witness tampering.
- Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was convicted of eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts, and who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction.
- Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, a former real-estate businessman who pleaded guilty in 2005 to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness, and one count of lying to the Federal Election Commission.
- Former Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who was convicted of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and false statements.
- Former Republican Rep. Chris Collins, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and conspiring to commit securities fraud.
- Former Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds.
- Four former Blackwater guards convicted in connection to the massacre of more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007.
- Two former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting and injuring an unarmed immigrant in 2006.
In November, the president also pardoned his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of the Russia investigation.
The president is granted extraordinarily broad pardon powers under the Constitution. But Trump has drawn significant scrutiny for circumventing the lengthy legal and ethical review process at the Justice Department that determines who gets executive clemency.
Instead, the vast majority of the president’s highest-profile pardons and commutations have gone to his friends and loyalists or to others whose names were suggested by conservative media powerhouses, such as Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News.