Unlike previous presidents, Trump has little interest in using the Justice Department’s pardon system to assess the executive’s mercy requests. Instead, petitioners contact the White House directly, calling or emailing senior adviser Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, or White House attorney Pat Zipollun – when they can’t reach Trump himself.
He has pardoned or commuted the sentences of some people serving long prison terms for low-level crimes, such as Alice Johnson, who speaks at the Republican National Convention.
But overall, Trump’s record of pardon has been broken by historical norms. Many of the high-ranking criminals he has pardoned have shown little remorse or remorse for their crimes, and few say they have been unjustly convicted.
He is expected to stick to that record on Tuesday when he issues about 100 pardons or shifts. The latest package of pardon actions is expected to include a combination of pardons aimed at criminal justice reform and more controversial ones, provided or granted to political allies. The list is expected to include white-collar criminals, high-ranking rappers and a prominent ophthalmologist from Palm Beach, Florida, who is in prison after being convicted of dozens of health fraud charges.
“Everyone assumed there was no formal process and they had to contact the administration directly,” a person familiar with the matter told CNN. “Everyone is hoping to have a friend of a friend of a cousin’s friend who hopes to get them to read their email.”
The 11-hour pardon package is in line with presidential tradition.
President Barack Obama pardoned or commuted the sentences of 330 people the day before he left office, a record number that went mainly to low-level drug dealers serving mandatory sentences.
President George W. Bush was more lenient with the use of pardons and shifts. He replaced the sentences of two border agents when he left the office (later Trump pardoned them). But he writes in his memoirs that an influx of requests arrives when he ends his term.
“One of the biggest surprises of my presidency was the flood of pardon requests at the end. I couldn’t believe the number of people who pulled me aside to suggest that a friend or former colleague deserved pardon. I was disappointed at first. Then I was disgusted, “he wrote in” Decision Points. “
“I came to see a huge injustice in the system,” he added. “If you had ties to the president, you could drive your case crazy at the last minute. Otherwise, you would have to wait for the Justice Department to review and make a recommendation. In my last weeks in office, I decided I wouldn’t forgive anyone. which went beyond the official channels. “
Bush said he told Obama on their joint limousine trip to the US Capitol about Obama’s inauguration to develop a policy of pardon early and stick to it.
President Bill Clinton carefully scrutinized his pardons and business trips to 140 people on inauguration in 2000, which included high-ranking donors and political supporters such as Mark Rich, his half-brother Roger and Patti Hearst. Some of them came after intermediaries, paid large sums, intervened with Clinton to justify their case. But most of the people on his list have still gone through the Justice Department process.
President George W. Bush pardoned a dozen people a day before leaving office. President Ronald Reagan has pardoned about 25 people in his last week as president. And President Jimmy Carter, leaving office, pardoned Pete Yarrow of the Peter, Paul and Mary group for the crime of “indecent liberties” with a 14-year-old girl.