Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon

President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt 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 ManafortLobbyist Tony Podesta returns to work for Huawei Former bank CEO convicted of bribery in scheme to land Trump admin job Trial begins for Chicago banker who exchanged loans with Manafort for Trump job MORE; longtime friend and adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCould Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? Has Trump beaten the system? Trump is on the ballot whether his name is there or not MORE; and Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerKushner launching investment firm in move away from politics: report Washington Post calls on Democrats to subpoena Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Meadows for testimony on Jan. 6 Unsealed documents detail Trump and Biden efforts on reporter records 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 AssangePoll: Democrats more likely to view Assange as having committed espionage Julian Assange stripped of Ecuadorian citizenship Podcast host Katie Halper: Trump opponents should be against Assange extradition 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 GiulianiCapitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' 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 BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot 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.