Washington (US): US President Donald Trump is reportedly preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final day at the White House on Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The planned pardons ahead of the Inauguration Day include white-collar criminals, high-profile rappers, and others reported CNN. Sources have informed that the White House has held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons.
Trump had put a pause on the list of pardons in the days leading up to and directly after riots at the US Capitol two weeks ago, according to officials. White House officials had expected them to resume after January 6, but Trump retreated after he was blamed for encouraging a mob of his supporters to incite the riots at the Capitol.
According to CNN, two major batches had initially been ready to roll out, one at the end of last week and one on Tuesday. Now, officials expect the last batch to be the only one unless Trump decides at the last minute to grant pardons to controversial allies, members of his family, or himself.
Following the violence on the Capitol, several of Trump’s advisers had encouraged him to forgo a self-pardon because it would appear like he was guilty of something, according to one person familiar with the conversations. He was also advised not to grant clemency to any of the rioters who swarmed the Capitol.
The final batch of clemency actions is expected to include criminal justice reform-minded pardons and more controversial ones secured or doled out to political allies.
The expectation among allies is that Trump will issue pardons that he could benefit from post-presidency.
“Everything is a transaction. He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him,” one source familiar with the matter said.
Dr. Salomon Melgen, a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach, Florida, imprisoned after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, is currently expected to be included in the clemency list, three sources familiar tell CNN.
There has been a scramble inside the White House to petition for pardons on behalf of allies and advocacy groups and names could be added and taken off up until the last minute, sources say.
On January 6, a group of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol to protest legislators confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory in the presidential elections held in November 2020.
Five people died in the riot, including one police officer as well as one Air Force veteran and a Trump supporter who was shot dead by police.
Following the violence, the US House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached Trump for “inciting” last week’s deadly violence at Capitol Hill, making him the first US President to be impeached twice. Congress voted 232 to 197 on the single article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection”.
Biden will be inaugurated as President of the US on January 20.