Outgoing United States President, Donald Trump, in his last full day in office as the president of the United States of America pardoned over 100 people, including his former aide, Steve Bannon and American rappers, Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.
“President Donald J. Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals,” his administration said in a statement.
Bannon was granted clemency after being charged with defrauding people over funds raised to build the Mexico border wall that was a flagship Trump policy.
The president, who will leave office on Wednesday, made his last-minute decision after speaking to Bannon by phone.
The pardon would effectively wipe away charges against Bannon, if he was convicted, it said.
Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a loaded weapon on a private jet while travelling to Miami in December 2020, Billboard.com reports.
Carter is a convicted felon, stemming from a gun charge in 2007, which meant he was looking at 10 years in prison when sentenced on January 28, 2021.
His pardon was hardly surprising after the Grammy award-winning artiste inexplicably endorsed Trump for re-election last October and posed for a picture, which he was heavily criticized for on social media.
“Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he has done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done,” Carter wrote in a Twitter message that included the picture.
On December 23, 2019, an anonymous tip led Miami police officers and federal agents to search Carter’s jet where they found the loaded gun, in addition to reportedly cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, heroin, pain killers and prescription-strength cough syrup, along with nearly $26,000 in cash. Carter was not charged with any drug offences.
Also, Kodak Black, born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison after pleading guilty to a firearms possession charge after being detained at the Canadian-American border in March 2020.
Trump also pardoned former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. However, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were not on the list.
Trump will fly to Florida on Wednesday morning, skipping Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The latest indications are that Trump will not take the legally dubious step of issuing himself and his children preemptive pardons.
Trump stops deportation of Venezuelans for 18 months
Trump also signed an executive order suspending the deportation of Venezuelans from US territory for a period of 18 months, citing the ongoing crisis in the country.
“I have determined that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer the removal of any national of Venezuela, or alien without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela for 18 months,”he executive ordered signed by Trump said.
The move had been pushed by the president’s Republican allies in Florida, where many Venezuelans have settled after fleeing the economic collapse and political turmoil in their native country, ruled for more than two decades by a socialist regime.
The Miami Herald said the order could aid up to 200,000 Venezuelans who live under threat of detention and deportation.