Houston Chronicle

Trump prepares to offer clemency to more than 100

- By Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is preparing to pardon or commute the sentences of more than 100 people in his final hours in office, decisions that are expected to be announced Monday or Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the discussion­s, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the plans.

Trump met Sunday with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump and other aides for a significan­t amount of the day to review a long list of pardon requests and discuss lingering questions about their appeals, according to the people briefed on the meeting. The president was personally engaged with the details of specific cases, one person said.

In the past week, Trump has been consumed with whether to issue preemptive pardons to his adult children, top aides and himself, said the people familiar with discussion­s.

But it remains unclear whether he will make such a move. Although he has mused about the possibilit­y, no decisions have been reached, and some advisers have warned against using his pardon power to benefit himself.

Neither Trump nor his children have been charged with crimes, and they are not known to be under federal investigat­ion.

But the question of a presidenti­al self-pardon has become more urgent and controvers­ial since the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by the president’s supporters. Some aides think Trump could face criminal liability for riling the crowd, some members of which eventually rioted.

Others think a self-pardon, never attempted by a president, would be of dubious constituti­onality, anger Senate Republican­s preparing to serve as key jurors at Trump’s impeachmen­t trial and amount to an admission of guilt that could be used against Trump in potential civil litigation related to the Capitol attack.

White House spokesman Judd Deere declined to comment.

People familiar with the discussion­s said many of the pardons and commutatio­ns Trump is expected to issue in his final days will be uncontrove­rsial.

But it remains unknown whether he will grant clemency to Steve Bannon, his former campaign adviser, who was charged last year with defrauding donors to a private fundraisin­g effort for constructi­on of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, or his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, whose consulting business has come under scrutiny as part of an investigat­ion that led to charges against two of his associates.

The news of Trump’s intention to make a slew of final pardons and commutatio­ns in the coming days was first reported by CNN.

Trump has granted clemency to 94 people, including 49 he issued in the week before Christmas — mostly to friends and political allies.

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