Trump grants clemency to Bannon, 142 others in final hours of presidency

Washington, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- The United States’ outgoing president Donald Trump granted full pardon to his former chief strategist Steven Bannon on Tuesday night, just hours before leaving the White House.

The pardon was one of 143 clemencies granted by Trump in his final hours in power. In total, 73 people were given pardons, and another 70 had their sentences commuted, a White House statement said.

Also on the list were two rappers prosecuted on federal weapons charges: Bill Kapri (aka Kodak Black), who was granted a commutation, and Dwayne Michael Carter Jr (aka Lil Wayne), who was given a full pardon. Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had his 28-year prison sentence for corruption commuted.

Bannon was one of the architects of the magnate’s presidential campaign in 2016 and an aide to his start in government.

“President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon,” a White House statement said. “Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project. Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen.”

Despite Bannon’s important role at the beginning of Trump’s term, the relationship between the pair broke down within months of Trump’s arrival to the White House after the strategist was quoted in a book as criticizing the president’s children.

Trump then fired the former executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News, and went so far as to say that Bannon had “lost his mind” and that he had “cried when he got fired and begged for his job.”

Bannon and three other people were charged by federal prosecutors in August for allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build the Wall” – referring to Trump’s contentious Mexico border wall – that raised more than $25 million, according to the Department of Justice.

The indictment added that Bannon pocketed more than $1 million in the operation, “at least some of which Bannon used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon’s personal expenses.”

The strategist pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial, so Trump’s pardon falls into the atypical category of “preventive.”

Despite speculation, Trump did not give himself a pre-emptive pardon, nor did he pardon his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Recently, Trump has also granted clemency to his first national security adviser Michael Flynn, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime advisor Roger Stone, as well as Charles Kushner, father of his son-in-law, and four Blackwater guards convicted in relation to the killing of Iraqi civilians, among many others. EFE-EPA


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