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President Donald Trump is expected to issue between 50 and 100 pardons and commutations before his presidential term expires on Jan 20, FOX News reports.
Sitting US Presidents have the exclusive right to issue pardons for anyone convicted of a federal crime. It has been a tradition for Presidents to issue a number of pardons in their last days in office when they are shielded from any political fallout.
The President is apparently expected to issue the pardons on Tuesday afternoon, one day before leaving office. However, he may delay the pardons until Wednesday morning. His term expires at noon later that day.
The pardons were reportedly discussed during a meeting at the White House on Sunday. The rapper Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm, is expected to be on the list, and consideration is being given to former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was handed with fraud-related charges last year.
Despite a vigorous campaign by his supporters, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is not expected to make the list. His supporters had hoped that a political outsider like Trump with a bone to pick with establishment politicians would be more sympathetic to Assange's cause.
The Trump administration has already issued a number of controversial pardons, including those of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, and Michael Flynn, all of whom were convicted in connection to the Mueller investigation.
Outside of pardoning those convicted in relation to the Russiagate scandal, the Trump administration pardoned a number of political allies including Conrad Black, Dinesh D'Souza and Joe Arpaio, all of whom have been vocal supporters of Trump.
Other high-profile pardons from the Trump administration include Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, former Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret Hunter, and former Republican Congressman Chris Collins. His issuance of clemency for a group of American servicemen convicted of committing war crimes in Iraq was considered controversial
Trump also posthumously pardoned suffragette Susan B. Anthony, who was convicted for voting, and boxing champion Jack Johnson, a black man who was convicted of bringing a white woman, his wife, across state lines for an "immoral purpose" during the Jim Crow era.