The most recent reports issued by the CNN claim that Donald Trump is ready to issue 100 pardons and commutations (or more!) this Tuesday. Although the list is said to include criminals, celebrities and some politicians, it’s no longer believed that Trump would try to pardon himself (or his family members) too.
Two sources familiar with the matter declared to CNN that the White House administration has finalized the list of pardons this Sunday.
A conveyor belt of pardons
These last pardons mark the end of a long series of commutations and pardons which has begun shortly before Christmas – probably when the Trump administrations had started to predict the end of an era.
Another burst of pardons was noticed right after the Capitol Hill riot, officials familiar with the matter declared.
Issuing so many pardons in such a short period of time looks suspicious to say the least – and since we’re talking about Donald Trump, it may seem like he’s got plenty to hide. However, members of his team anonymously declared that his only focus for a long time has been the Electoral College count. This is just more proof of the President’s certainty that he could’ve actually overturn the election results.
The Capitol Hill riot seems to have been the final straw which opened his eyes; that’s when he saw the reality (or at least part of it) clearly.
The first thing he did? Pardon the people he was connected to.
If you’re curious about the people Donald Trump has pardoned during his years of presidency, the official website of the U.S. Department of Justice offers interesting information. Two days before Christmas, for example, Trump has issued 26 pardons. These people had been convicted from virtually every crime under the sun, from fraud to conspiracy against the U.S., tax evasion, false statements and causing false records.
The website has yet to publish the pardons issued this month, which will probably make a very interesting read for all of us.
Trump’s final plans as president
For this Tuesday’s batch of pardons and commutations, we expect to see a mix of his political allies, as well as criminals and maybe even some of his more famous acquaintances. Although specialists expect this to be the final batch, there’s also the possibility of some last-minute pardons for his family.
The possibility of Trump pardoning himself for the crimes he will most likely be accused of has sparked massive controversy lately. In fact, experts consider that he might’ve really gotten away with pardoning himself, his family and Rudy Giuliani (his attorney) had it not been for the Capitol Hill riot. Although Trump allegedly believed he has done nothing wrong regarding the violent protest, his advisers insisted on him not granting clemency to anyone involved in the riot in any way. This, of course, includes himself.
Even so, close sources say that the president knows ‘exactly what to do’ before leaving the White House at noon on Inauguration Day. A source familiar with the matter anonymously declared for the CNN:
“Everything is a transaction. He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him.”
So pardons are just a fraction of Trump’s to-do list before January 20th – which is only one day away as I’m writing this post. Reportedly, his team has also prepared a series of executive orders and even declassifying information regarding the infamous Russia probe.
However, considering how few allies Trump still has left in the White House, it’s more and more unlikely that these plans will turn into reality within the next hours.
Can Salomon Melgen be pardoned?
Salomon Melgen is a renowned eye doctor living in one of Donald Trump’s favorite areas: Palm Beach, Florida. This specialist is now imprisoned after a conviction for tens of counts of health care fraud.
He has also been closely involved as a co-conspirator in the corruption case against New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (Democratic); he received a 17-year sentence for health care fraud almost three years ago, in 2018.
There’s no doubt that Dr. Melgen is a very influential presence among the wealthy population in southern Florida. Sources familiar with the matter say that Trump’s team has been arguing about including Melgen on the pardons list until the very last minute, given his controversial conviction.
This situation alone just gives us a clear view into what type of people will be included in this list of pardons; however, it shouldn’t come as a surprise for any of us. I think we all knew where things were heading ever since 2016.
However, there’s no denial that the materialization of such a tragic, jaw-dropping and internationally damaging presidency is heartbreaking for our now-divided nation. This is the type of behavior that will probably leave scars for decades into our political future; all we can do is prepare to make better decisions when we’re asked:
Who will we vote for next?