On his way out the door, President Trump was still finalizing the list of pardons he was going to issue late Tuesday night, a senior administration official told CBS News. The official said Mr. Trump was still considering a pardon for Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, even though he was being advised against it.
CBS News reported earlier this week that Mr. Trump was expected to issue up to 100 pardons and commutations.
Mr. Trump had granted 70 pardons as of late Tuesday, the majority of those in December, according to Justice Department records.
The president waited until after the November election to issue some of his most controversial pardons, including for former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner’s convict father Charles Kushner, and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone.
By the time President Obama had left office, he had pardoned 212 people; 189 were pardoned by President George W. Bush; and 396 received a pardon from President Clinton, according to the Justice Department.
Mr. Trump isn’t the first president to issue highly criticized pardons. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, and Mr. Clinton granted clemency to friends and supporters.
The president’s pardon powers are virtually unlimited when it comes to federal crimes. The presidential pardon power allows the president to pardon any federal crime — it does not apply to state crimes. Article II of the Constitution states that the president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”