Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Swamp wins

Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon with Trump

President Trump on Jan. 28, 2017, with two aides he later pardoned — national security adviser Michael Flynn and strategist Steve Bannon. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It was 12:50 a.m. on Inauguration Day when President Trump announced 143 pardons and commutations — including a pardon for Steve Bannon. 17 minutes later, the White House released an executive order that said it all about his failure to "drain the Swamp," as he'd promised in the '16 campaign.

Driving the news: Trump revoked an executive order, signed eight days after he took office, that limits his appointees' lobbying for five years after leaving the administration.

  • That's a huge victory for Swamp creatures and — as Axios' Alayna Treene points out — Trump's final "screw you" to the criminal justice system that he thinks unfairly targeted him and his allies.

Among Trump's final-hours pardons:

  • The Bannon pardon spared a longtime ally from a federal fraud prosecution over his alleged misappropriation of nonprofit funds for a privately financed border wall, Axios' Lachlan Markay writes.
  • Elliott Broidy, former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws.
  • Rapper Lil Wayne, who had pleaded guilty to a gun charge.

See the full list.

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