WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office, but did not pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The President also pardoned 72 other people. “President Donald J. Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals,” his administration said in a statement.
Trump leaves office on Wednesday, when Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation’s next president. White House officials had argued to Trump that he should not pardon himself or his family because it might look like they are guilty of crimes, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Bannon, who was a key adviser in Trump’s 2016 presidential run, was charged last year with swindling the president’s own supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the US-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.
“Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen,” the White House said in a statement.
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.
As part of more than 140 pardons and commutations, Trump also pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump who pleaded guilty last year to violating foreign lobbying laws, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges.
Rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, were also granted pardons.
Giuliani, who has been at the forefront of Trump’s unsuccessful efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, has not been charged with a crime, but investigators have been probing his activities in Ukraine.
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House last week on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol by the president’s supporters. He may face a Senate trial and could be barred from running for president again if convicted.