Pardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office

President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE is preparing to issue dozens of pardons before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE is sworn in at noon on Wednesday, with the big question being whether Trump will preemptively pardon himself before he leaves office.

Trump has been meeting with son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump discussed sending infected Americans to Guantanamo Bay: book NYC voters set to decide Vance's replacement amid Trump probe Kushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 MORE and daughter Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpNYC voters set to decide Vance's replacement amid Trump probe Ukraine sanctions two businessmen tied to Giuliani Michael Cohen predicts Trump will turn on family after revelation of criminal probe MORE, both senior White House officials, to finalize a list of pardons he’ll issue in the final 24 hours of his presidency.

The pardons are expected to lean heavily in favor of the president’s longtime friends and political allies, as well as drug offenders brought to his attention through the administration’s criminal justice reform efforts.


The rapper Lil Wayne, who has pleaded guilty to possession of an illegal firearm, and former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), who was found guilty on public corruption charges and is imprisoned in New York, are reportedly among the first wave of pardons Trump will issue Tuesday.

Advocates for Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangePink Floyd's Roger Waters: 'No f---ing way' Zuckerberg can use our song for ad Biden DOJ to continue to seek Assange extradition Assange, Snowden among those not included on Trump pardon list MORE are pleading with the president to issue him a pardon. The U.S. is working to have Assange extradited from a London prison to face charges pertaining to government papers published by his firm WikiLeaks. Former President Obama pardoned Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth ManningBiden DOJ to continue to seek Assange extradition Pardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other MORE over her role in the leaks on his way out of office in 2017.

Trump could also look to issue preemptive pardons for himself or his family members, including sons Eric TrumpEric TrumpFlorida city bans gambling amid prospects of Trump-owned casino Lara Trump on Senate bid: 'No for now, not no forever' Lara Trump disputes report that father-in-law is discussing reinstalment MORE and Donald Trump Jr., who have not been charged with any crimes but are bracing for a wave of investigations into their personal business empire and their political activities as soon as Trump leaves the White House.

Legal scholars are divided over whether Trump could pardon himself, with some saying it would be unconstitutional and others believing that pardon powers are broad enough to include self-pardons.

Trump faces potential legal jeopardy on many fronts and must factor in how GOP senators would view a self-pardon as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial over the president’s role in inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol to disrupt the counting of the Electoral College votes.


The president is also being investigated for a phone call he made to Georgia’s secretary of state, urging him to “find” enough illegal votes to reverse the outcome.

Trump’s business empire and personal finances are reportedly the focus of several investigations in his home state of New York.

Outside of his family, Trump has liberally granted pardons to political allies, raising questions about whether he will preemptively pardon his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiNewsmax hires Jenna Ellis, Hogan Gidley as contributors Yang campaign touts donations from 24K individuals, claims new record The wild card that might save Democrats in the midterms MORE or his former adviser Stephen Bannon, who is charged with fraud over his association with a group that was raising money to build a wall along the southern border.

There are also questions about whether Trump would issue pardons for the dozens that have been arrested in connection with the siege on Capitol Hill, although he would face outrage for such a move.

Trump has already granted clemency or pardons to several individuals ensnared in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s probe into Russian election interference, including Michael Flynn, Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneBannon asked Trump DOJ to reimburse his legal fees from Russia probe: report Feds charge members of Three Percenters militia group over Jan. 6 attack Biden's anti-corruption memo is good news — and essential to US national security MORE, Georgia Papadopoulos and Alex van der ZwaanAlex van der ZwaanPardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' CNN's John Berman on Trump pardons: 'Good night to be a corrupt Republican congressman' MORE.


He’s granted full pardons or commuted sentences for several GOP lawmakers found guilty on corruption charges, including former Reps. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterTrump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP Trust, transparency, and tithing is not enough to sustain democracy MORE (R-Calif.), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsOutrage grows as Justice seeks to contain subpoena fallout Trump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP MORE (R-N.Y.) and Steve StockmanStephen (Steve) Ernest StockmanPardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office GOP senator on Trump pardons: 'It is legal, it is constitutional, but I think it's a misuse of the power' Nothing becomes Donald Trump's presidency like his leaving it MORE (R-Texas).

The president has also pardoned a handful of former Blackwater security contractors convicted for their roles in the murders of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2017. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosErik Prince involved in push for experimental COVID-19 vaccine: report Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies DeVos ordered to testify in student loan forgiveness lawsuit MORE.

In addition, Trump has issued pardons or clemency for several people of color charged with drug related offenses. Last year, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, and he's worked with Johnson on reforming the criminal justice system.