It is a litany of 143 names that spans one page of the White House website. On Wednesday January 20, a few hours before his departure from the Oval Office, Donald Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, one of the strategists of his 2016 electoral campaign, as well as several other relatives. In all 73 people were pardoned and 70 have had their sentences commuted.
The outgoing president, on the other hand, did not grant himself a pardon, nor did he do it for members of his family.
Precocity of Bannon’s Grace
Steve Bannon, the 67-year-old was accused of fooling thousands of the president’s donors, who thought their money would be used to fulfill the campaign’s promise to build a wall along the Mexican border. Instead, he allegedly embezzled over a million dollars, paying a salary to a campaign official and personal expenses for himself. Bannon had pleaded not guilty and had since reconciled with Trump.
Bannon’s pardon is all the more remarkable given that the prosecution is still in its infancy and a possible trial will only take place in a few months. While those pardoned are traditionally viewed as defendants who have faced justice, often having served at least part of their prison sentence, pardon overturns the charge and effectively eliminates any prospect of punishment.
Other relatives …
Other relatives are not left out. Among the 143 names are also Elliott Broidy, vice chairman of finance for the Republican National Committee and a former fundraiser for the president, who pleaded guilty last year to violating lobbying laws, pushing Malaysian and Chinese interests to the Trump administration without to have registered.
The pardoned list also includes the name of Paul Erickson, lawyer involved in the case of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and ex-boyfriend of Maria Butina, “Russian agent” condemned for having tried to infiltrate American political circles. A choice that the White House explains in its press release by the fact that “Mr. Erickson’s conviction was based on the Russian collusion hoax. After finding that there was no reason to accuse him of any crime related to Russian ties, he was charged with a minor financial offense ”, continuing:
“This grace corrects the wrongs of what turned out to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history. “
Grace was also granted to Ken Kurson, a friend of Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law – who was accused last October of cyber-harassing his ex-wife during their divorce, as well as to the rappers Lil wayne and Kodak Black, prosecuted for illegal possession of a firearm. Wayne, real name Dwayne Michael Carter, has frequently expressed support for Trump and recently met with the president on criminal justice issues.
And former elected officials
A series of political figures, mainly Republican, have also been pardoned or have had their sentences commuted, like two former members of Congress, Rick renzi from Arizona and Randall “Duke” Cunningham from California. The first had served a three-year sentence, notably for corruption and money laundering. The second was convicted of accepting $ 2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Former Democratic Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, who had served a seven-year sentence of twenty-eight years in prison for corruption and racketeering, is also on the list.
Other choices are, finally, less directly political: the pardon was granted to Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer sentenced in August to eighteen months in prison for stealing industrial secrets on autonomous driving while negotiating a job at Uber.
In the past, Donald Trump has used presidential prerogatives to pardon a series of longtime associates and supporters, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort; Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared; his friend and longtime advisor, Roger Stone; and his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Despite his closeness to Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, who was on the front line to have the courts overturned the results of the November presidential election, did not benefit from a ” sorry “ presidential. Donald Trump’s personal lawyer is not charged with any crime, but is under investigation for his activities in Ukraine. Also missing from the list are some Obama presidential whistleblowers who have fled overseas, such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and former NSA Edward Snowden.
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