As of November 26, US President Donald Trump has granted clemency 45 times, including 29 pardons and 16 commutations.(REUTERS)
As of November 26, US President Donald Trump has granted clemency 45 times, including 29 pardons and 16 commutations.(REUTERS)

Presidential pardons: Here’s the list of key allies, family members Trump could pardon

Last month, Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2020 04:50 PM IST

Amid reports of US Department of Justice investigating a potential presidential pardon bribery scheme, President Donald Trump is expected to use his clemency power to pardon or commute the sentences of his allies before leaving the office. Last month, Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington.

Calling Flynn “an innocent man”, the White House said in a statement that he should have never been prosecuted. It described the retired US Army three-star lieutenant general as the “victim of partisan government officials engaged in a coordinated attempt to subvert the election of 2016.” As of November 26, Trump has granted clemency 45 times, including 29 pardons and 16 commutations, which is the lowest of any US president since William McKinley.

While Trump has used his expansive power less frequently than any other president in modern history, a CNN report suggests that the outgoing commander-in-chief might stretch the power to save his allies as well as his family members from future prosecution, even though they haven’t been charged with any crime.

Heres’s the list of key people Trump might be considering to pardon in the coming days:

Donald Trump: In June 2018, Trump made clear in a tweet that the thought of self-pardoning occurred to him, stating that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself. “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” tweeted Trump.

Rudy Giuliani: Trump’s personal lawyer allegedly sought dirt on Joe Biden from foreign governments, particularly Ukraine, in a quid-pro-quo. During Trump’s impeachment hearings, US envoy Gordon Sondland had testified that Trump and Giuliani sought a ‘quid pro quo’ with Ukraine. The Trump administration is accused of withholding $400 million in military aid to Ukraine and pressurising the country to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Also Read | How Trump compares to other US presidents on pardons and commutations

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner: The couple worked on Trump’s campaigns as well as in the White House in advisory roles. Ivanka has repeatedly been accused of conflict of interest while serving as a White House adviser. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been looking into the finances of the Trump Organization and real estate business of Trump’s family for a criminal investigation. However, there is still unclarity over the full extent of the involvement and activities of Trump’s children.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump: They helped Trump with his campaigns and ran his business. In October, Eric Trump sat for a deposition as part of an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into Trump Organization. In 2019, Trump had to pay $2 million in damages after a New York judge ordered it for misusing funds from his tax-exempt charity to finance his political campaign in 2016. He was sued by James for using funds from Donald J. Trump Foundation, that got closed in 2018, for personal benefit.

Paul Manafort: Trump’s former campaign chairman has been imprisoned for financial crimes as part of the Russia investigation. The long-time Republican Party campaign consultant is a convicted tax and bank fraudster.

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