Trump's Most Controversial Pardons Explained

In Donald Trump's final hours as the president of the United States, he used the last bit of his power to issue a total of 73 pardons and 70 commutations, per CNN. While it's not unusual for a president to execute the power of the pardon as they're out the door, Trump's list of second chances is definitely raising some eyebrows. Per Time, the presidential pardon is typically utilized for those who were subjected to unjust sentencing as the ultimate power of forgiveness, but Trump's pardons include a bevy of his former allies who found themselves wrapped up in white collar crimes.

His final list of pardons — which bring his grand total of clemencies granted during his four years to 237 people, per The Sun — include former Deputy National Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee Elliott Broidy, who worked as a top fundraiser on Trump's 2016 campaign. "Mr. Broidy was convicted on one count of conspiracy to serve as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal," according to a White House statement. However, CNN described his crime with less grace, stating that he was part of a "secret lobbying campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a foreign billionaire in exchange for millions of dollars."

Broidy is just one of Trump's allies who received his mercy, in addition to a few wild cards including rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who both pleaded guilty to weapon and gun charges. Keep scrolling for more details on Trump's most shocking pardons.

Trump didn't pardon himself or his family, but he let Steven Bannon off the hook

As Donald Trump's presidency was winding down, there was tons of chatter that he would issue preemptive pardons for himself and his family, especially after the attack on the Capitol in early January 2021. "Before, the justification was, they haven't done anything wrong," a source told CNN days after the riots, however, they added: "There is blood on their hands after January 6th." 

As we know now, Trump didn't issue the controversial family pardons, but he did pardon former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who faced fraud charges relating to the "We Build the Wall" online fundraiser, per CNN. He pleaded not guilty to "defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign" as part of Trump's campaign to build a border, according to CNN. However, prosecutors claim Bannon used the funds for his "personal expenses." Now that Trump has left office, there is no telling what could happen to him or what the future holds for those he pardoned.