Trump pardons expected day before Biden inauguration

President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia.Leah Millis | ReutersPresident Donald Trump on Tuesday is expected to issue a large number of pardons and criminal sentence commutations in advance of Joe Biden’s inauguration as president the next day.But multiple sources familiar with Trump’s thinking do not expect him — as of now — to issue pardons to either himself or to close relatives as a protection from prosecution of possible federal crimes that theoretically might have been committed before he leaves office, according to NBC News.The White House has received a flurry of pardon requests since Trump lost the election to Biden. Trump reportedly plans to grant dozens of those requests.One person given a good chance of winning a pardon is Lil Wayne, the rapper who last month pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded handgun on an airplane.The New York Times reported Monday that Sheldon Silver, the former New York Assembly speaker who is serving a 78-month prison sentence for corruption, also is being considered for executive clemency from Trump. Clemency can include either a pardon or commutation of sentence.Shortly after Biden defeated him, Trump pardoned his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his discussions with a Russian diplomat shortly before Trump was inaugurated.In December, Trump pardoned a rogue’s gallery of felons connected to him, including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Republican political operative and longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, his daughter Ivanka’s father-in-law Charles Kushner, and former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.Others granted pardons by Trump last month were four former Blackwater USA guards convicted of killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007, disgraced ex-GOP congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and Philips Esformes, a Florida health-care facility owner convicted of what prosecutors have said was the biggest health-care fraud ever charged by the Department of Justice.Presidential pardons only apply to convictions for federal crimes. Presidents do not have the power to pardon people for state crimes.Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, currently is the target of a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office.The probe, which originally was focused on how the company accounted for hush money payments paid to two women who claim they had sex with Trump — who denies their allegations — since has expand to include questions of how the Trump Organization valued real estate assets.

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