President Donald Trump is reportedly set to issue approximately 100 pardons and commutations to white-collar criminals, high-profile rappers, and others on his last full day in office.
The White House held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons, two sources told CNN.
“Initially, two major batches had been ready to roll out, one at the end of last week and one on Tuesday. Now, officials expect the last batch to be the only one—unless Trump decides at the last minute to grant pardons to controversial allies, members of his family or himself,” the network reported.
It’s unclear if high-profile names such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or former Trump adviser Steve Bannon are on the list.
CNN said Trump “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,’ one source familiar with the matter said.”
One person reportedly on the list is Dr. Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor from Palm Beach, Florida, who was convicted on dozens of counts of healthcare fraud.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that Trump was personally involved in the discussions.
“Trump met Sunday with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump and other aides for a significant amount of the day to review a long list of pardon requests and discuss lingering questions about their appeals, according to the multiple people briefed on the meeting. The president was personally engaged with the details of specific cases, one person said,” the Post reported.
The president has been besieged by lobbyists and lawyers for well-heeled clients who are seeking to have their criminal convictions wiped from their records, as well as by advocates for criminal justice reform, who argue that their clients were wrongly convicted or were given unfair sentences and deserve to be freed from prison.
Trump has told advisers for weeks that he wants to be liberal with pardons before leaving office. Aides have said the ability to grant clemency is a perk of the job Trump has particularly relished because the Constitution hands the power to the president alone.
The week before Christmas, Trump granted clemency to 49 people, bringing his total to 94. Trump pardoned two people convicted in the special counsel investigation on alleged Russia collusion, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime confidant Roger Stone. Trump also pardoned Michael T. Flynn, who served as Trump’s first national security adviser.
About 14,000 people have filed petitions for pardons and commutations, the Post wrote.
Trump is among the presidents who have granted the fewest pardons and commutations. For instance, former President Barack Obama granted clemency 1,927 times during his eight-year tenure, including 212 pardons and 1,715 commutations. Meanwhile, former President George H.W. Bush granted 77 pardons and commutations during his single term.
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