Presidents typically emit a wave of pardons and commutations when they step down, and if the reports are correct, Donald Trump will be no exception. According to a sourcePresident Trump is eager to exercise his clemency power before Christmas, and a new batch of pardons could be announced today.
So far, the president has used the power of grace sparingly. In some cases, his choices have received popular support, including his decisions to pardon historic figures convicted on racist grounds as well as non-violent offenders.
Other choices have been more controversial. These include Trump’s decision to forgive the corrupt former governor from Illinois and Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser who had to plead guilty lie to investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Now, in the dying days of Trump’s presidency, an even more controversial list of names is reportedly being considered for a pardon. Here are seven of the most important.
The former NSA contractor copied and leaked highly classified information about US government surveillance programs. Since 2013, Snowden has lived in exile in Moscow. Hailed as a brave whistleblower by many, others consider Snowden like a traitor which compromised American security. His name has surfaced several times in possible forgiveness talks – with some noting that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, a soldier who leaked sensitive documents – but it is unclear whether Trump is seriously willing to forgive Snowden.
Ross Ulbricht aka ‘The Dread Pirate Roberts’
Ulbricht is known to run the Silk Road, an online marketplace for selling drugs and providing all kinds of illicit services. The young Texan operated the site as Dread Pirate Roberts and, when caught, attempted to claim he passed the business on to another Dread Pirate – just like his namesake protagonist the had done in the movie Princess Bride. The judge didn’t believe his far-fetched story and sentenced him to life in prison. Civil libertarians have long argued that the sentence was too harsh, as Ulbricht’s mother leads a relentless campaign to free her son. a report this week, President Trump is considering a pardon.
The former New York mayor has reinvented himself in recent years as a staunch Trump fanatic. As the president’s personal attorney, Giuliani waged the futile legal campaign to challenge the election results, in part by spreading extravagant conspiracy theories. It is unclear what charges Giuliani could face, despite being the subject of a federal investigation for his transactions in Ukraine. the New York Times reported this month he discussed a forgiveness for himself with the president.
Wikileaks founder Assange is currently in jail in the UK fighting extradition to the US His critics see him as an unsavory figure due to rape allegations in Sweden and his connections. apparent with the Russian government. But Assange also has high profile advocates, including actress and model Pamela Anderson who recently posted swimsuit photos. urging Trump to forgive him. Despite the publicity, it is unclear if Trump is seriously considering leniency for Assange.
Joe Exotic, aka “The Tiger King”
Exotic became a household name after Netflix this year aired a documentary describing his exotic cat business and his feud with an animal rights activist. This feud led Exotic to 22 years in prison for plotting to assassinate the activist. Exotic’s showbiz lifestyle has led many to speculate that Trump would regard him as a cognate spirit and grant him his pardon. The Department of Justice, however, recently rejected Exotic’s formal request for leniency. Trump could ignore formal protocol, however, and still grant a pardon – as he has done on several occasions.
Children Trump and Jared Kushner
the New York Times reported that Trump seriously explore pardons for his three oldest children, Eric, Ivanka and Don Jr. While the latter was involved in the Russian investigation, none of Trump’s three children are currently facing charges – although they do can in the future. There is a potential legal danger for Ivanka regarding consultation fees she received under tax write-offs from her father. Likewise, her husband, Jared Kushner, could be in danger a shell company he would have designed to use campaign donations to enrich the family. The president could, however, absolve any wrongdoing by granting a preventive pardon – which he is in his power to do. Such a pardon, however, would only apply to federal charges. The president could not exonerate his family from criminal charges brought by state governments or protect them from prosecution for future criminal activity.
President Donald Trump
Trump is said to have asked assistants to forgive himself. Such a move would be an untested affirmation of the power of pardon granted to the President by the Constitution. Many jurists are skeptical. There is a clear legal way for Trump to be absolved of any crimes he may have committed – namely by stepping down and asking Vice President Pence to assume the presidency and granting a pardon. This is what happened when President Gexrald Ford absolved his predecessor, Richard Nixon. But there is no indication that Trump is ready to follow such a manual, which means untested self-forgiveness appears to be a real possibility.
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