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Report: Trump will pardon more than 100 people in his final hours as president

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 18, 2021

By Chris Sommerfeldt New York Daily News

With just hours left in office, President Donald Trump is expected to dish out pardons and sentence commutations to a varied group of more than 100 criminals, pardons that could include himself and his family members, according to several reports Monday.

Trump, whose term ends at noon Wednesday, spent his last weekend at the White House huddling with son-in-law Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump and a handful of other trusted advisers reviewing clemency requests from a wide array of individuals who included rapper Lil Wayne and disgraced former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, sources told the New York Times.

Meanwhile, several of the criminally charged attackers who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 called on Trump to pardon them, arguing that he should have their backs since he incited the bloody attack. It was not immediately known if Trump was considering their pleas.

The timing of Trump’s anticipated pardon spree was not immediately known, either, but several reports said an announcement is expected Tuesday, his last full day as president before Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.

The most controversial issue at hand is whether the soon-to-be former president will pardon anyone named Trump.

Sources told the Washington Post that Trump remained “particularly consumed” with the question of whether to pre-emptively pardon himself and three of his adult children amid concerns that the Justice Department could prosecute them once he loses his presidential immunity.

Neither Trump nor his children are known to currently be under federal investigation, but a growing chorus of lawmakers and legal experts are calling for them to face charges for a variety of alleged wrongdoing, including his instigation of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, which left a police officer and four of the rioters dead.

Problematic for Trump is that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is known to be investigating him and his namesake company over potential state fraud crimes that cannot be pardoned.

Also not known is whether the president will pardon ex-adviser Stephen Bannon, who’s under indictment for allegedly defrauding Trump supporters, or Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney who’s under investigation for questionable business dealings in Ukraine, some of which overlapped with the president’s first impeachment in 2019.

Giuliani declined to say if he’s expecting a pre-emptive pardon when reached by the Daily News on Monday .

On a separate note, Giuliani said he likely won’t be part of the legal team defending Trump at his forthcoming Senate impeachment trial because he also helped egg on the violent mob on Jan. 6, saying in a speech that the supporters should challenge members of Congress to “trial by combat.”

“As a possible witness, it’s limited,” Giuliani said of his potential role at Trump’s Senate trial, which is not expected to start until he’s out of office.

Another twist in the pardon drama emerged in reports Sunday that said lawyers connected to Trump, including Giuliani, are collecting cash from deep-pocketed felons pushing the White House for clemency.

Giuliani vehemently denied participating in any such scheme. “The claims that I asked for, or received, any compensation for a pardon for myself or anyone else is false, defamatory, and malicious,” the former New York mayor tweeted.

If his past acts of clemency are any indication, Trump is likely to offer cover for criminals in his orbit.

Last year, Trump pardoned and offered clemency for crimes committed by Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser; George Papadopoulos, his former campaign adviser; Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager; Roger Stone, his longtime political confidante, and Charles Kushner, his son-in-law’s father.

Flynn, Stone, Manafort and Papadopoulos were indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia.

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