Pres. Trump pardons former top strategist Steve Bannon, 72 others and 70 commutations

Washington-DC

FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington, after returning from Texas. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey broke his silence to defend his company’s ban of Trump as the right decision, but warned that it could set a dangerous precedent. The ban, he said, revealed Twitter’s “failure” to create an open and healthy space for what Dorsey calls the “global public conversation.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump granted a full pardon to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations he issued during his final hours in office.

Trump pardoned 73 people and commuted the sentences of an additional 70. At least 50 are drug related.

Trump did not pardon lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was at the forefront of unsuccessful efforts to get the results of the 2020 presidential election overturned. Trump did not pardon himself or any of his family members.

Trump leaves office on Wednesday, when Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation’s next president. He can still issue pardons up until the end of his term.

The list of pardons and commutations include:

  • Lil Wayne
  • Kodak Black
  • Kwame Kilpatrick
  • Elliot Broidy, former Deputy National Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee
  • Representative Rick Renzi of Arizona
  • Randall “Duke” Cunningham, former California congressman
  • William “Ed” Henry, former Alabama lawmaker
  • Kenneth Kurson
  • Paul Erickson
  • Robert Cannon “Robin” Hayes, former North Carolina congressman
  • Casey Urlacher
  • Anthony Levandowski, former Google engineer

Bannon, who was a key adviser in Trump’s 2016 presidential run, was charged last year with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.

White House officials had advised Trump against pardoning Bannon. The two men have lately rekindled their relationship as Trump sought support for his unproven claims of voter fraud, an official familiar with the situation said.

Bannon, 67, is the latest prominent political ally to receive clemency from Trump. Trump had already issued two waves of pardons in the past month. This third wave was expected. A presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes and does not exclude state, local or civil offenses.

Trump previously pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversation with the former Russian ambassador, and he commuted the prison term for Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Bannon can still be charged in state court in New York, where a pardon would not help him, said Daniel R. Alonso, a former prosecutor now at the Buckley law firm. Fraud prosecutions are frequently brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Alonso said.

White House advisers had said Trump privately discussed with advisers whether to take the step of issuing a pardon for himself ahead of his imminent impeachment trial.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives earlier this month on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” one week after the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol Complex. The House voted 232-197, including 10 Republicans, in favor of impeachment.

His case will now head to a Senate trial and if convicted, he could be potentially be disqualified from seeking another run for the presidency in 2024. There is no set date for when the trial will start.

Trump will leave Washington early Wednesday and skip the inauguration of Biden to begin his post-presidency at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Vice President Mike Pence will attend the inauguration.

He is expected to be sent off with a departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.

(Reporting by Steve Holland. Additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Jan Wolfe. Writing by James Oliphant. Editing by Mary Milliken and Lincoln Feast.)

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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