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Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon

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 on Wednesday granted clemency to more than 100 people in one of his final acts as commander in chief, including to his former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon.

Trump announced a wave of pardons and commutations shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Bannon, rapper Lil Wayne, GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) were among the notable figures to receive clemency, along with dozens of lower-profile individuals whose cases were raised by criminal justice reform advocates.

Trump granted clemency to 143 individuals in total, just hours before leaving office: 73 received pardons, while 70 were granted commutations.

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The Bannon pardon was perhaps the most surprising of the batch, given the former Breitbart News editor had a high-profile falling out with the Trump family after denigrating Donald Trump Jr. in Michael Wolff’s 2018 book, “Fire and Fury.”

"Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen," press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in announcing Bannon's pardon.

Bannon was a top adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign and served as the chief White House strategist for roughly seven months. He was arrested and charged last August with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors who contributed to a fundraising campaign for a private border wall.

The president reportedly went back and forth over whether to grant clemency to Bannon before deciding to do so.

Trump, who had branded Bannon “sloppy Steve” upon the release of Wolff’s book, distanced himself from his former adviser upon news of the charges.

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“I don't like that project. I thought it was being done for showboating reasons,” Trump said at the time. “It was something that I very much felt was inappropriate to be doing.”

Trump also pardoned Broidy, a former top Republican National Committee fundraiser who was charged last year with conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent as part of a back channel effort to lobby the Justice Department.

Kilpatrick, the former Democratic mayor of Detroit, was convicted in 2008 of perjury and obstruction of justice.

And Lil Wayne faces prison time after pleading guilty to federal gun charges. The rapper, whose birth name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., met with Trump on the campaign trail in a meeting the campaign later touted as it courted Black voters.

Trump also commuted the sentence of Bill Kapri, better known as the rapper Kodak Black, who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for making a false statement on a federal document. He had served less than half of his sentence.

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The president issued pardons to several individuals who were charged with nonviolent drug offenses, including Tena Logan, MaryAnne Locke and Caroline Yeats. Alice Johnson, whom Trump pardoned and who became a face of the White House's criminal justice reform efforts, advocated for several of the individuals granted clemency on Wednesday.

Johnson was among those who advocated for clemency for Kilpatrick as well.

Trump has come under scrutiny for favoring political allies and well-connected individuals in doling out pardons and commutations. 

Following his election loss, Trump issued two sizable batches of pardons last month, including for ex-Republican lawmakers 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 and 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; his former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLegal intrigue swirls over ex-Trump exec Weisselberg: Five key points There was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder Treasury: Manafort associate passed 'sensitive' campaign data to Russian intelligence MORE; longtime friend and adviser 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; and Charles Kushner, his 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’s father. He also pardoned Michael Flynn, his onetime national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in connection with 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 investigation.

There had been much speculation leading up to Wednesday’s announcement about who Trump would ultimately choose to grant clemency in his waning hours as president. Some Republicans had pushed for Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder 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 or National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, but neither was given clemency.

Presidents typically issue a flurry of pardons or commutations on their final day in office. There was chatter in recent weeks that Trump would move to preemptively pardon himself or his adult children to shield them from federal charges after leaving office. Trump opted against doing so, though he still faces a Senate impeachment trial in the coming weeks and the prospect of state investigations. Trump's 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 is also not on the outgoing president's list. 

Trump is slated to leave Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, foregoing the usual practice of attending the incoming president’s inauguration. Trump will be sent off with a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews outside the district. Meanwhile, 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 will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States around noon during a pared-down ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Morgan Chalfant contributed.