Pardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE is preparing to issue dozens of pardons before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants 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 KushnerBiden to speak with Saudi king 'soon' as pressure builds for Khashoggi report Biden to speak with Saudi king ahead of Khashoggi report: report Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE and daughter Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpTrump Jr. was deposed in inauguration funds probe Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Disaster politics hobble Cruz, Cuomo 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 AssangeBiden DOJ to continue to seek Assange extradition Assange, Snowden among those not included on Trump pardon list Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon 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 TrumpTrump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident Trump sends well wishes to Tiger Woods after crash Scottish lawmakers want to investigate Trump purchase of golf courses 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 GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill Giuliani again suspended from YouTube over false election claims Sacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech 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) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s probe into Russian election interference, including Michael Flynn, Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Third approved vaccine distributed to Americans DOJ investigating whether Alex Jones, Roger Stone played role in Jan. 6 riots: WaPo Nearly a quarter of Trump's Facebook posts in 2020 included misinformation: analysis 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 HunterTrust, transparency, and tithing is not enough to sustain democracy Presidential pardons need to go Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon MORE (R-Calif.), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsBipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks Presidential pardons need to go Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon 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 DeVosCardona seeks to pivot from DeVos era at Education Senate confirms Biden's Education secretary Motorcade of Libyan interior minister attacked 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.