Trump denies clemency to 180 people

Trump denies clemency to 180 people
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her 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 ClintonSexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE, George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states Ford taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing 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.