Trump Pardons Rappers and Some Friends, Not Himself or Julian Assange

(Noted News) — Donald Trump’s last major act of his presidency will be a hefty list of pardons and commutations on his last day in office. The White House announced a collection of 73 pardons and an additional 70 commutations, some expected, and some unexpected. Notable names on the list are: 

-Sholam Weiss, who holds a record for getting the longest sentence ever for a white-collar crime. In 2000, Weiss was sentenced to 845 years in prison for a life insurance scam. He was originally set to be released in November of 2754, but he was instead released on January 20. 

-Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief of staff. He was accused of using money designated for the “We Build The Wall” fund, which was supposed to be a nonprofit project for citizens to build a border wall, for his own personal expenses. Bannon was accused of using $1 million worth of donations on his own personal life, but he denied the allegations. 

-Lil’ Wayne, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time was charged in December for possessing illegal weapons in Florida. Wayne had previously worked with Donald Trump on “The Platinum Plan,” which was a $500 billion investment to “uplift black Americans.” The rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, was facing up to ten years in prison for the charge. 

-Kodak Black, who had a number one album in 2018, was facing four years in jail for making a false statement in an application for a firearm. The White House’s statement noted that “This commutation is supported by numerous religious leaders, including Pastor Darrell Scott and Rabbi Schneur Kaplan. Additional supporters include Bernie Kerik, Hunter Pollack, Gucci Mane, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Jack Brewer formerly of the National Football League, and numerous other notable community leaders.” 

-Saloman Melgen was serving a 17-year sentence for a Medicare fraud where he billed the government to treat people for eye diseases they did not actually have. 

-Aviem Sella, an Israeli who was convicted in association with Israeli spy Jackson Pollard. The White House added: 

“Mr. Sella’s request for clemency is supported by the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, the United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and Miriam Adelson. The State of Israel has issued a full and unequivocal apology, and has requested the pardon in order to close this unfortunate chapter in U.S.-Israel relations.”

Not on the list is Trump himself, and any members of his family, despite many calling for some sort of legal repercussions after the events of January 6, 2020. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough publicly called for Trump’s arrest on January 7. 

“That’s insurrection against the United States of America and if Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump are not arrested today for insurrection and taken to jail and booked — and if the Capitol Hill police do not go through every video and look at the face of every person that invaded our Capitol and if they are not arrested and brought to justice today — then we are no longer a nation of laws and we only tell people they can do this again,”

Some would also be quick to point out that Trump did not pardon any of the people arrested for the riots at the Capitol, despite him saying that he loves them, and that they are “very special,” and ostensibly instructing them to charge the Capitol building. Many of these people are already facing serious accusations from the FBI and are likely looking at heavy sentences. 

Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange’s pardon was also lost in the mail, and though Assange likely will not be extradited to the US, American authorities are still after him. President Biden, while vice president, once referred to Assange as a “high-tech terrorist,” so Trump may have been Assange’s last chance at clemency in the US.

Last-minute pardons and commutations are something like a tradition in the White House, and according to Statista, Donald Trump issued fewer pardons than almost every other president, including Barack Obama. 

“As one of the final acts of his eight years in office, President Obama announced that he was commuting the sentences of 330 prisoners, most of whom had been serving time for minor drug offences. Just before his second term ended, the White House announced that Obama had granted more commutations than any president in U.S. history. Throughout his time in the White House, Trump has used pardons, commutations and other forms of leniency less frequently than other presidents, particularly his direct predecessor.”

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