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Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon

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 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 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 and 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; his former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortProsecutors drop effort to seize three Manafort properties after Trump pardon FBI offers 0K reward for Russian figure Kilimnik New York court rules Manafort can't be prosecuted by Manhattan DA MORE; longtime friend and adviser 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; and Charles Kushner, his 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’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) 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.