US President Donald Trump pardoned former White House adviser Steve Bannon today during his final term in office.
Trump said he would grant Bannon mercy in a wave of pardons and commutations, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
He was not expected to forgive himself, members of his family or his attorney Rudy Giuliani, who led the unsuccessful effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
The NY Times reports that the White House planned to release the mercy list earlier Tuesday, but the debate on Bannon was part of the delay.
Bannon was accused last year of defrauding Trump supporters for trying to raise private funds to build the presidential wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The decision to apologize for him won’t be official until Trump signs the papers.
It comes after Trump pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who were charged with federal gun violations, as well as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison sentence on corruption charges, a senior government official said.
According to CNN, Trump told people he made the decision to excuse Bannon – who, along with three others, is accused of defrauding donors of more than $ 1 million – as one of his final acts.
Bannon, once the editor of the alt-right website Breitbart, served as Donald Trump’s chief strategist for the first seven months of his tenure.
He also led Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign.
The wire fraud and money laundering charges relate to a “We Build The Wall” fundraiser that prosecutors in the US Attorney General said defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors.
Donald Trump leaves office today as Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation’s next president.
White House officials had advised Trump against pardoning Bannon, but the two men recently revived their relationship when Trump sought support for his unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud, said an official familiar with the situation.
67-year-old Bannon is the youngest prominent political ally to receive grace from Trump, who has often used executive powers to reward loyalists and punish his enemies.
Trump previously apologized to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversation with the former Russian ambassador.
He also commuted the sentence for Roger Stone, who was convicted of lied to Congress during his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm in federal court in December and faced a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
He has expressed his support for Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts.
Kodak Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false testimony to buy a gun.