President Trump has pardoned former campaign strategist Steve Bannon in the final hours of his presidency. Various news agencies and American media report this based on sources around the White House.
Bannon was arrested for fraud in August. He is suspected of a million dollar scam with three others. They allegedly raised more than $ 25 million under false pretenses for the construction of a border wall with Mexico. Bannon says he is innocent.
The president made the decision after much deliberation, including with Bannon himself, The New York Times writes. The presidential pardon is remarkable because Bannon has yet to stand trial. In the vast majority of cases, previous presidents pardoned those who had already been convicted.
Bannon would be on a list of people Trump pardons before his term ends this afternoon, along with more than a hundred others. Trump’s legal advisers have advised the president not to pardon himself or his family because it could come after him.
Documents Russia investigation
The president made some last minute decisions on his penultimate day at the White House. For example, he released a binder containing documents about the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. Trump argues that the Democrats wanted to use that investigation to get him out.
Trump has also decided that Venezuelans should not be deported from the US for the next 18 months due to conditions in Venezuela. In a memo, Trump describes Venezuela as an ongoing threat to the security of the American people.