Sources have revealed Donald Trump will use his last day in the White House to issue around 100 pardons and commutations.
Sources familiar with the situation told CNN the list of those Trump will give clemency to include white collar criminals and high-profile rappers.
It is not expected Trump will attempt to pardon himself but he has discussed the possibility, Reuters reports.
White House advisors said Trump did privately discuss whether to pardon himself, though administration officials cautioned against this, as it would make him look guilty, the Associated Press reported.
An anonymous source also told the Associated Press Trump also does not plan to issue preemptive pardons for members of his family, another subject he has discussed privately with advisers.
The pardons will be dished out on Tuesday (local time), Trump’s final day in office, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
Two sources told CNN a meeting at the White House on Sunday, local time, finalised the list of pardons.
One of CNN’s sources offered some insight as to what kind of people he will grant clemency to.
“Everything is a transaction,” a source “familiar” with the situation told CNN.
“He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favours for people he thinks will owe him.”
CNN reported that Dr Salomon Melgen, a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, is expected to be on the clemency list.
In December 2020, Trump pardoned a list of longtime associates ahead of him being leaving the White House on January 20.
Pardons are common in the final stretch of a president’s tenure, the recipients largely dependent on the individual whims of the nation’s chief executive.
Majority of Americans against Trump pardoning himself
Though there has been some chatter about Trump pardoning himself, the majority of the US is opposed to this.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll found 68 per cent of Americans are against Trump pardoning himself of any federal crimes he may be accused of.
Many scholars have said a self-pardon would be unconstitutional because it violates the basic principle that nobody should be the judge in his or her own case.
Some legal experts have pointed out Trump’s phone call on January 2 where he pressured Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn his election loss may have violated both federal and state law.
No president has pardoned themselves before.
The Constitution states that a president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”
Trump’s past pardons heavily criticised
Trump was impeached for a second time for inciting the riot at the Capitol, his trial is set to start after Biden’s inauguration.
Under the Constitution, the president has the power to grant “reprieves and pardons” for federal (but not state) crimes, essentially wiping out a person’s convictions.
Pardons cannot be overturned by Congress or the courts and nearly every president has used his pardon powers.
The last lot of pardons Trump dished out were strongly criticised by many in the United States, especially the four American men convicted of killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007.
Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder, while Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of voluntary and attempted manslaughter, over the incident in which US contractors opened fire in busy traffic in a Baghdad square and killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.
The four men worked for the private security firm Blackwater owned by the brother of Trump's education secretary and Jelena Aparac, chair of the UN working group on the use of mercenaries, said the pardons violated international law.
"These pardons violate US obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level,” Aparac said.
With the Associated Press
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