On his last full day in office, President Trump is set to issue around 100 pardons and commutations to white-collar criminals and others.
Two sources told CNN that the White House finalized the list of pardons at the meeting last Sunday. CNN also reported that initially, two major batches were prepared to roll out. One will be given at the end of last week and then one on Tuesday.
However, officials are now expecting the last batch to be the only one that will be issued by the President unless he decided to grant pardons at the last minute.
President Trump is preparing to issue more than 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office on Tuesday, but at this point is opting not to issue a pardon for himself, a source familiar with the effort said https://t.co/EFnz2fLuA6 pic.twitter.com/6dyrsO5RZ8
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 19, 2021
In addition to this, CNN also reported that the President “will issue pardons that he could benefit from post-presidency. ‘Everything is a transaction. He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him.”
It is not yet clear if high profile names such as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon or WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are on the list.
White House aides said that it is unlikely for Trump to grant clemency to his former campaign adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, due to his charges of “defrauding donors to a private fundraising effort for construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.”
They added that it is also unlikely for him to give clemency to Rudolph W. Guiliani, his personal attorney and whose consulting business has come under fire as part of an investigation that led to charges against two of them Guiliani’s associates.
One person reportedly on the list is Dr. Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor located at Palm Beach, Florida, who was previously convicted on dozens of healthcare fraud counts.
Meanwhile, according to the report by The Washington Post, Trump was personally involved in the discussion.
The Post also reported that the President met Sunday with daughter Ivanka Trump, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and other aides in order to review the list of pardon requests and talk about lingering questions about their appeals. In addition to this, they reportedly spent a significant amount of the day to do the review, and the President was personally engaged with the details of specific cases.
According to a source who is familiar with the discussions, the President has been particularly consumed about the question as to whether or not he will issue preemptive pardons to his children, top aides, and himself.
However, aides of the Trump administration said that they are no longer expecting a preemptive self-pardon or pardons for any of Trump’s family members.
We MUST ensure the federal investigation into Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings is unimpeded. Joe Biden must not replace the current U.S. Attorney for Delaware now that his son is under investigation.
Interference would be meddling in the Department of Justice’s affairs. pic.twitter.com/2oDCVSUTIw
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) December 11, 2020
Compared to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump’s children have not been under federal investigation or charged with crimes. However, Presidential self-pardon has become an urgent matter after the U.S. Capitol was stormed with Trump supporters last January 6.
Some aides of the White House say that the President could face criminal liability due to his part in talking to the crowd before the breach. On the other hand, others say that self-pardon, a move which was never before attempted by a president, would have doubtful constitutionality.
It could also probably anger Senate Republicans preparing to serve as the key jurors at Trump’s impeachment trial. The self-pardon could amount to an admission of guilt that can be used against the President in possible civil litigation related to the Capitol’s attack.
Pardon me? President Trump expected to issue 100 #pardons & commutations on final day in office. @joejohnscnn reports the list of controversial allies & who's been left out. pic.twitter.com/eHNWW7Xv2M
— Julia Chatterley (@jchatterleyCNN) January 18, 2021
For weeks, Trump has been telling his advisers that he wants to be liberal with pardons before he leaves offices. Aides of the President also said that the ability to grant clemency and pardon is one perk of the job as a President that Trump particularly liked because the Constitution grants this power to the President alone.
So far, President Trump has already issued clemency to 94 people, including 49 clemency just a week before Christmas.