Updated Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons


Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

For the record: Some pardons and commutations were granted to Trump's allies, while others were related to criminal justice issues.

Zoom in: The highest-profile name on the list was Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon. This pardon spared a close former aid from a federal fraud prosecution over his alleged misappropriation of nonprofit funds. Others pardoned include:

  • Elliot Broidy, former top Republican fundraiser who pled guilty to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.
  • Rapper Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to a gun charge.
  • Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of a 2017 lawsuit between Google's self-driving car unit and Uber over alleged theft of trade secrets.
  • Rick Renzi, former Republican congressman from Arizona who was convicted of corruption, corruptionracketeering and money laundering.
  • Duke Cunningham, former Republican congressman from California who pleaded guilty to accepting $2.3 million in bribes.
  • Robert Zangrillo, a Miami investor charged with committing fraud and bribery to secure his daughter's admission to USC.

Flashback: Trump in December granted pardons to more than two dozen people, including his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, associate Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and son-in-law Jared Kushner's father, Charles Kushner.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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