The outgoing United States President, Donald Trump, has granted presidential pardon to 143 people in his last day in office.
The presidential pardon came late on Tuesday, just a few hours to the end of his tumultuous tenure.
Washington Post reports that Trump waited until his last full day in office to offer clemency to the recipients including rapper Lil Wayne, former White House Chief Strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, and former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison on corruption charges, as well as highly-connected celebrities and political acolytes.
However, Trump did not preemptively pardon himself or members of his family as many political analysts had envisaged.
Other recipients of the president’s last-minute pardon include Casey Urlacher, brother of former NFL star, Brian Urlacher, who pleaded not guilty in March to charges that he helped run an illegal offshore gambling ring.
According to one of his aides, Trump had “had spent a lot of hours contemplating the clemency requests by lobbyists and was consumed with indecision over whether to extend clemency to Bannon, who had been charged with defrauding donors to a charity established to fund the building of a wall on the southern border.”
“Inside the White House, there was the belief that Bannon would not get a pardon, but Trump continued to weigh the matter, balancing Bannon’s previous help to him, and potential to help him in the future, versus what he viewed as disloyal behavior at times,” a White House source said.
The 67-year-old Bannon and three others were accused last year of making fraudulent representations as they solicited more than $25 million in donations for a fundraising campaign called “We Build the Wall.”
He had served as chief executive of Trump’s 2016 campaign and later as White House Chief Strategist until he was ousted in August 2017 amid clashes with other aides.
In recent months, Bannon had reestablished ties with Trump, vocally supporting his reelection and attempts to overturn the November results and speaking to him in recent weeks.
Another beneficiary of Trump’s clemency was GOP mega-donor Elliott Broidy, who pleaded guilty in October to acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lobbying the administration on behalf of Malaysian and Chinese interests.
A Los Angeles-based investor, Broidy helped raise millions for Trump’s campaign before serving as the Republican National Committee’s national deputy finance chairman.
The last-minute clemency extended to Trump’s friends and allies, according to Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. “underscores how Trump has used his presidential power to benefit allies and political backers.
“He previously pardoned or commuted the sentences of his former campaign chairman, former national security adviser and a former campaign foreign policy adviser.
“Even Nixon didn’t pardon his cronies on the way out.
“Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon.
“All those he pardoned all had something Trump wanted or benefited him in some kind of way.”