Donald Trump has granted clemency to Steve Bannon as part of a wave of 143 pardons and commutations announced early Wednesday morning during the president’s final hours in office.
Bannon, 67, helped Trump win the election in 2016 and was a senior White House adviser. In August last year he pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded MAGA donors to ‘We Build the Wall,’ an online campaign that raised $25 million.
‘Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen.’
Trump has also pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, as well as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges.
He will also pardon Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump who pleaded guilty last year to violating foreign lobbying laws, Ken Kurson, a friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner who was charged last October with cyberstalking during a heated divorce and Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing the internet giant’s self-driving car files ahead of joining Uber.
But notable names not on the list were Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Tiger King’s Joe Exotic, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani or any members of the Trump family, all of whom were rumored to be under consideration.
It also ended years of speculation that Trump would try to immunize himself, an unprecedented and legally questionable step which he had previously claimed he had the power to take.
The list was issued just hours before Trump leaves the White House for the last time and the pardon power, nuclear codes and other trappings of the presidency are transferred to Joe Biden, who will take the oath of office at noon Eastern time.
Trump wished luck to the new administration in a ‘farewell address’ last night but did not mention Biden by name and still has not accepted in public that he legitimately lost the election.