Trump denies clemency to 180 people

Trump denies clemency to 180 people
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Meetings on potential North Korea summit going 'very well' Freed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela Ivanka Trump to campaign for Devin Nunes in California MORE quietly turned down 180 requests for clemency last week, according to the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

In all, Trump denied 98 requests for commutations and 82 applications for pardons. The denials mark the first decisions on such clemency requests since Trump took office.

The denials were first reported by USA Today. One White House official told the newspaper that the denials were "routine," and that no clemency grants were expected in the near future.

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Such clemency denials are common. The Justice Department receives such applications, and the president typically issues decisions on that caseload to clear the slate.

Former presidents Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump must move beyond the art of the deal in North Korea talks To woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? MORE, George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump: Police 'have every right' to protest Chicago mayor To woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? MORE each denied hundreds of clemency requests before issuing their first commutations and pardons, according to USA Today.

Trump has so far issued three pardons since taking office. He pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in August. Months later he issued a pardon to former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, who had been convicted of retaining classified information. 

Earlier this month, Trump pardoned Lewis "Scotter" Libby, a top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby was convicted in 2007 of obstruction of justice and perjury related to the investigation into the leak of a former CIA officer's identity.

In issuing those pardons, Trump bypassed the formal process, which includes FBI background checks and recommendations from prosecutors that the cases be pardoned. 

The Constitution gives the president the power to pardon convicts, meaning that the formal process for such acts of clemency is not mandatory.