President Trump is on his way out of the Oval Office as Joe Biden is sworn in as the next leader of the United States.
Trump made sure that he left on a high note, issuing a wave of presidential pardons to over 140 people including several names that have surprised everyone.
Who Did Trump Pardon?
Some of Trump’s most surprising pardons include his former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and rap star Lil’ Wayne. Less surprising was his pardons of family friends and those related to the Kushner family, since Jared Kushner is married to his daughter Ivanka.
There had been some pundits saying Trump might pardon himself, but that didn’t happen, however, despite some worries that he may be facing civil and criminal investigations once he’s out of office related to tax fraud allegations and other accusations, particularly in the Southern District of New York.
Trump didn’t issue a pardon to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, but more or less went through a big list of people who had been asking for pardons for years or saying they were unfairly locked up.
Some of the most interesting pardons include a former member of the US Marines who had been found guilty of a cocaine charge in 2000 and another man who’s been in jail 24 years for drugs and weapons but has behaved very well and who Trump believes deserved another chance at freedom.
Others include Jared Kushner’s friend Ken Kurson who had been charged last year with stalking his partner online during a bitter divorce.
The pardon of Bannon is also very notable since the trial was coming up in a few months and now won’t be taking place, which means Bannon had his slate preemptively wiped clean instead of first being punished and then being pardoned, which is the norm with presidential pardons.
Bannon had been charged for embezzling funds out of a fundraising effort to build a crowdfunded wall on the Mexican border.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who was one of the leading conspiracy-mongers during the Russiagate hoax, said that Bannon is an example of the corruption and incompetence of the Trump Administration.
“Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for. And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves,” Schiff said.
Who has Trump pardoned? The outgoing U.S. president issued pardons and commutations for more than 140 people on his last day in office. Among them, former campaign adviser Steve Bannon and rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black https://t.co/lSkZ43loZn pic.twitter.com/vPtO734zYB
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 20, 2021
Past presidents have gone ahead with eyebrow-raising pardons, but Trump’s pardoning of people close to him and his family has drawn criticism from progressives and some conservatives.
Famous people pardoned include the rapper Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were convicted for weapons charges. Wayne was a Trump supporter, so it’s not a big surprise that Trump gave him a boost.
Death Row records co-founder Michael Harris got a pardon as did Rep. Rick Renzi, a Republican from Arizona who got three years in jail for corruption and money laundering as well as Rep. Randy Cunningham from California and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Past pardons from Trump already gave the all-clear to Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner’s corrupt real estate dad Charles Kushner, his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and political operative Roger Stone.
Regardless of the criticism that Trump’s pardons may be getting from some, it’s clear that they show that Trump does remain loyal to those who remain loyal to him. Whether the same can be said of the new Administration taking power certainly remains in question.