ALL NEWS

Trump’s last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of others

Jan 20, 2021, 7:10 AM

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during...

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

    (CNN) — President Donald Trump issued a raft of 11th-hour pardons and commutations early Wednesday that included his onetime political strategist, a former top fundraiser and two well-known rappers but not himself or his family.

The batch of 73 pardons and 70 commutations issued in the final hours of his presidency was expected, and is in keeping with a long-standing presidential tradition of exercising clemency powers at the last minute.

The list reflected a President keen on awarding pardons to his stalwart allies, an unusual number of whom have been swept up in corruption or lying charges.

The vast majority of the pardons and commutations on Trump’s list were doled out to individuals whose cases have been championed by criminal justice reform advocates, including people serving lengthy sentences for low-level offenses.

But several controversial names do appear, including Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded donors in a “We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign. Trump had spent the past days deliberating over a pardon for the man who helped him win the presidency in 2016 and followed him to the White House. During his final hours in office there was a frantic debate underway behind the scenes on whether to grant Bannon a pardon.

Full list of pardons and commutations granted by President Donald Trump 

One concern was Bannon’s possible connection to the January 6 riot of Trump supporters at the US Capitol, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Over the course of Tuesday, Trump continued to contemplate pardons that aides believed were settled, including for his former strategist. The President continued to go back and forth on it into Tuesday night, sources told CNN.

Other names included Tuesday were Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump’s campaign who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to a secret lobbying campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a foreign billionaire in exchange for millions of dollars.

The rapper Lil Wayne received a pardon after pleading guilty to a gun possession charge in Miami. Another rapper, Kodak Black, received a commutation after he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge.

Trump also offered clemency to Paul Erickson, the conservative political operative and ex-boyfiend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges; Robin Hayes, a North Carolina political donor convicted of trying to bribe officials; Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, convinced of federal charges including racketeering, extortion and the filing of false tax returns; William Walters, a professional sports gambler convicted of insider trading; and Aviem Sella, an Israeli air force officer who the US accused of being a spy.

Bob Zangrillo, the Miami developer and venture capitalist charged in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal, also received a pardon. None of the other parents caught up in the probe were pardoned.

Though neither Trump or members of his family were included on his list, Trump has until noon on Wednesday to issue any final pardons before leaving office.

Last-minute scramble

Trump’s final acts of clemency come after a scramble in recent days among criminal justice reform advocates and several White House officials to finalize the list and convince Trump to approve the actions. These pardons will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the slew of controversial ones Trump also issue in the same final batch on Tuesday.

While outgoing presidents typically issue pardons before leaving office, Trump has proven more willing to use his pardon power to brazenly reward political loyalty, the wealthy and well-connected and those who did not cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The January 6 violence that led to Trump’s second impeachment have complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and a source close to the process said those are no longer expected.

After the violence, advisers encouraged Trump to forgo a self-pardon because it would appear like he was guilty of something, according to one person familiar with the conversations. Several of Trump’s closest advisers have also urged him not to grant clemency to anyone involved in the siege on the US Capitol, despite Trump’s initial stance that those involved had done nothing wrong.

Refocus on pardons

After weeks focusing on contesting the election and reeling from the fallout of the January 6 insurrection, Trump finally snapped back to attention on pardons in recent days, one source said.

“You couldn’t get the President to focus on this,” a source close to the process said of Trump in recent weeks. “And then this weekend, he didn’t have his Twitter, he didn’t have all these other distractions.”

Trump, who sank deeper into lame duck status in recent weeks, was reminded that his pardon power is one of the remaining undiminished aspects of his presidential power.

This source said Trump also resonated with cases in which individuals who went to trial got significantly more prison time than co-defendants who cooperated with law enforcement.

“I don’t think he likes when people get screwed just because they go to trial,” this source said.

While Jared Kushner has been closely involved in pardons throughout his time at the White House, this source said that Ivanka Trump became much more closely involved in the push for pardons in recent days.

Together, Kushner and Ivanka Trump worked with the White House counsel’s office and Justice Department while also working to convince Trump to support a series of clemency actions in the vein of criminal justice reform.

After meetings this weekend, Trump met again with his daughter, son-in-law and other White House officials on Monday to finalize the list of clemency actions.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych, on Wednesday April 24, 202...

Pan Pylas, Associated Press

Rush hour chaos in London as 5 military horses run amok after getting spooked during exercise

LONDON (AP) — Five military horses spooked by noise from a building site bolted during routine exercises on Wednesday near Buckingham Palace, threw off four riders and caused chaos as they galloped loose through central London streets and collided with vehicles during the busy morning rush hour. The commotion erupted when the horses from the […]

4 hours ago

House Speaker Mike Johnson talks to the press after the House passed four foreign aid bills at the ...

Haley Talbot, Lauren Fox and Clare Foran, CNN

Johnson calls on Columbia University president to resign during tense news conference

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University’s president to resign Wednesday during a tense news conference.

5 hours ago

Agriculture officials said the fire most likely started after a piece of equipment malfunctioned at...

Emma Keddington and Simone Seikaly

Equipment malfunction suspected after fire at Utah egg farm

A 21,000 square foot barn at Oakdell Egg Farms quickly caught fire when a power washer caught fire.

6 hours ago

FILE: An arson investigation is underway after several suspicious fires in Salt Lake City on Tuesda...

Britt Johnson

Salt Lake City Fire conduct arson investigation Tuesday morning

An arson investigation is underway after several suspicious fires in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

7 hours ago

Wine bottles are pictured at a state liquor store in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: How people get drunk WITHOUT drinking

Try explaining this condition to a cop.

8 hours ago

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party on Wednesday, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waite...

Simone Seikaly, Eric Cabrera, Emma Keddington, Adam Small

Utahns showing up for the NHL in Utah

Ahead of the NHL to Utah party, Utahns crowded the plaza of the Delta Center and waited in long lines for the party to start.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Trump’s last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of others