List of people granted executive clemency by Donald Trump

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Since taking office as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump has granted executive clemency to a number of individuals as authorized under Article II, Section 2, of the US Constitution. Under the Constitution, the president's clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses.[1] All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation and review. The beneficiary of a pardon needs to accept the pardon and acknowledge that the crime did take place.[2]

Definitions[edit | edit source]

"Executive clemency may take several forms, including pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, and reprieve".[3]

  • A pardon is an instrument of mercy that stops all proceedings and punishments in progress at the time pardon is granted; forgives prior acts within the penumbra of the pardon, if sentence has already been completed for pertinent offense; and prevents any future proceeding relevant to the pertinent offense. Although criminal conviction is usually antecedent to pardon, it is not necessary. (See, e.g., Ex parte Garland, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 333 (1866).)
  • A commutation is the mitigation of the sentence of someone currently serving a sentence for a crime pursuant to a conviction, without vacating the conviction itself.[4]

Constitutional authority[edit | edit source]

Article II of the United States Constitution gives the president the power of clemency. The two most commonly used clemency powers are those of pardon and commutation. A pardon is an official forgiveness for an acknowledged crime. Once a pardon is issued, all punishment for the crime is waived. The person accepting the pardon must, however, acknowledge that the crime did take place.[2] The president can only grant pardons for federal offences.[1] The president maintains the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to review all requests for pardons. The president can also commute a sentence which, in effect, changes the punishment to time served. While the guilty party may be released from custody or not have to serve out a prison term, all other punishments still apply.[citation needed]

Most pardons are issued as oversight of the judicial branch, especially in cases where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are considered too severe. This power can check the legislative and judicial branches by altering punishment for crimes. Presidents can issue blanket amnesty to forgive entire groups of people. For example, President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam draft dodgers who had fled to Canada. Presidents can also issue temporary suspensions of prosecution or punishment in the form of respites. This power is most commonly used to delay federal sentences of execution.[citation needed]

Pardons[edit | edit source]

President Donald Trump has issued ten pardons as of May 2019:

Date of Pardon Name Court Sentencing date Sentence Offense Notes
August 25, 2017 Joe Arpaio United States District Court for the District of Arizona October 5, 2017 N/A – Arpaio's pardon was issued after his conviction, but prior to his being sentenced. Criminal contempt of court Former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona and anti-illegal immigration hardliner, Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court and was awaiting sentencing. Arpaio was pardoned for one contempt offense of which he had been convicted (but not yet sentenced) and for any not-yet-charged offenses he may have committed in the same case. In issuing the pardon, The White House cited Arpaio's "more than fifty years of admirable service to" the United States. [5][6]
March 9, 2018 Kristian Saucier United States District Court for the District of Connecticut August 19, 2016 One year in prison, three years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service Unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information Saucier was given an other-than-honorable discharge from the Navy for taking photos in a military submarine.[7] At sentencing, Saucier unsuccessfully argued for probation rather than imprisonment on the basis that Hillary Clinton was not indicted for her email controversy.[8]
April 13, 2018 Lewis "Scooter" Libby United States District Court for the District of Columbia June 14, 2007 30 months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine Perjury and obstruction of justice Previously an aide to former vice president Dick Cheney. Convicted in connection with the CIA leak scandal. Pardoned following an earlier commutation by President George W. Bush in July 2007.[9][10][11]
May 24, 2018 Jack Johnson United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois September 14, 1920 One year and one day in prison, and $1000 fine Violation of the Mann Act Famed boxer, convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 for traveling with his white girlfriend. It was then illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.[12][13][14][15]
May 31, 2018 Dinesh D'Souza United States District Court for the Southern District of New York September 23, 2014 Five years of probation, eight months of supervision in a halfway house, and a $30,000 fine Campaign finance violations In 2014, right-wing commentator D'Souza pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to the 2012 Senate campaign of his Republican friend, Wendy Long.[16][17][18]
July 10, 2018 [[Hammond arson case|Template:Ublist]] United States District Court for the District of Oregon October 7, 2015 Five years in prison Arson Father and son were convicted of arson in 2012. While initially sentenced to time served, their sentence was increased in 2015 to the mandatory 5-year minimum term under federal law.[19] The increased sentence triggered protests which culminated in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge.[20] The Hammonds had rejected the protesters' assistance.[20][21][22]
May 6, 2019 Michael Behenna General court martial February 28, 2009 Twenty years in prison, forfeiture of pay, and dismissal from the Army Assault and murder Convicted of murder of an Iraqi man by a court-martial, Army First Lieutenant Behanna was released on parole in 2014.[23]
May 15, 2019 Conrad Black United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois December 10, 2007 42 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and $125,000 fine Fraud and obstruction of justice Former media mogul, current friend, supporter and biographer of President Trump.[24] Conviction reviewed by the Supreme Court in Black v. United States; convictions later upheld. Released from prison in 2014 and deported to Canada where he is not a citizen.[25]
May 15, 2019 Pat Nolan United States District Court for the Eastern District of California February 18, 1994 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $10,000 fine Racketeering Former Republican lawmaker who pled guilty to soliciting for illegal campaign donations after being caught by the Shrimpscam sting operation by the FBI. Ultimately served 26 months; released in 1996 and became an activist for criminal-justice reform.[26]

Commutations[edit | edit source]

President Donald Trump has issued four commutations as of October 2018:

Date of Pardon Name Court Sentencing date Sentence Offense Notes
December 20, 2017 Sholom Rubashkin United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa June 22, 2010 27-year prison term, 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $27 million Bank fraud The commutation does not vacate Rubashkin's conviction, and it leaves in place a term of supervised release and a substantial restitution obligation, which were also part of his sentence. Rubashkin was released 19 years earlier than planned.[27][28]
June 6, 2018 Alice Marie Johnson United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee March 21, 1997 Life sentence Conspiracy to possess cocaine, attempted possession of cocaine, money laundering First-time, non-violent drug offender. Johnson's sentence was commuted following a meeting between Trump and Kim Kardashian.[29][30][31][32][33][34] Johnson had served more than 21 years in prison; Trump's commutation allowed her to be released from incarceration immediately.
July 10, 2018 Dwight and Steven Hammond United States District Court for the District of Oregon October 7, 2015 Five years in prison Arson In addition to the full pardon on the same day, Trump issued commutations of the Hammonds' prison sentences to time served, and ordered their immediate release.[35][36]

Responses[edit | edit source]

In May 2019, the New York State Senate passed the TRUST Act which if signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would amend state law to allow state prosecutors to pursue charges against individuals pardoned by the president.[37]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Executive Clemency | PARDON | Department of Justice". Retrieved 2017-01-28. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Pardon Information and Instructions". 12 January 2015. 
  3. "USDOJ: Office of the Pardon Attorney". USDOJ. 
  4. "USDOJ: Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Executive Clemency". USDOJ. 
  5. Hirschfeld, Julie; Haberman, Maggie (August 25, 2017). "Trump Pardons Joe Arpaio, Who Became Face of Crackdown on Illegal Immigration". 
  6. Hillyard, Vaughn; Helsel, Phil. "President Trump Grants Pardon for Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio". NBC News. Retrieved May 17, 2019. 
  7. Lindsey Bever, Trump compared a Navy man's crime to Clinton's email scandal. Now that sailor wants a pardon., The Washington Post. (January 26, 2017). Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  8. Olson, Wyatt (March 9, 2018). "Trump pardons sailor convicted of photographing sub's nuclear propulsion system". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved March 10, 2018. 
  9. Calia, Mike; Pramuk, Jacob (13 April 2018). "President Trump pardons former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby". 
  10. "Trump Pardons Scooter Libby in a Case That Mirrors His Own". The New York Times. 2018-04-13. 
  11. "Trump pardons ex-Cheney aide Scooter Libby". CNN. 2018-04-13. 
  12. "Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2018-05-24. 
  13. "Trump Pardons Jack Johnson, Heavyweight Boxing Champion". The New York Times. 2018-05-24. 
  14. "Trump posthumously pardons heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson". CNN. 2018-05-24. 
  15. "Boxer Jack Johnson is posthumously pardoned by President Trump". The Washington Post. 2018-05-24. 
  16. "Trump pardons conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, suggests others also could receive clemency". The Washington Post. 2018-05-31. 
  17. "Trump to Pardon Pundit Dinesh D’Souza for Campaign Finance Violation". Bloomberg. 2018-05-31. 
  18. "Dinesh D’Souza, Pardoned by Trump, Claims Victory Over Obama Administration". The New York Times. 2018-06-01. 
  19. Salama, Vivian (July 10, 2018). "President Trump Grants Pardons for Oregon Ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 10, 2018. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Stack, Liam (January 2, 2016). "Militiamen Occupy Oregon Wildlife Refuge in Protest of Ranchers' Prison Terms". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  23. Zaveri, Mihir (2019-05-06). "Trump Pardons Ex-Army Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Man". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-07. 
  24. Wamsley, Laurel. "Trump Pardons His Friend Conrad Black, Who Wrote Glowing Trump Biography Last Year". NPR. Retrieved May 17, 2019. 
  25. Karni, Annie. "President Trump Grants Pardon to Conrad Black". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2019. 
  26. Mai-Duc, Christine (2019-05-15). "Trump pardons Pat Nolan, former GOP lawmaker taken down in FBI’s ‘Shrimpscam’ probe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-05-16. 
  27. "Breaking News: Sholom Rubashkin Has Been Freed From Prison". 20 December 2017. 
  28. "President Trump Commutes Sentence of Sholom Rubashkin". The White House. 
  29. Baker, Peter (June 6, 2018). "Trump Offers Clemency to Imprisoned Woman After Being Lobbied by Kim Kardashian West". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  30. Diamond, Jeremy; Collins, Kaitlan (June 6, 2018). "Trump commutes sentence of Alice Marie Johnson". CNN. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  31. "Trump has commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a woman whose case was championed by Kim Kardashian". The Washington Post. 2018-06-06. 
  32. "Trump commutes life sentence for drug offender backed by Kim Kardashian West". Chicago Sun Times. 2018-06-06. 
  33. "Trump Commutes Sentence of Drug Offender Championed by Kardashian". Bloomberg. 2018-06-06. 
  34. "Trump grants clemency to woman after Kim Kardashian pressed her case". The Hill. 2018-06-06. 
  37. Allan Smith (May 8, 2019). "N.Y. state Senate passes bill allowing Congress to get Trump tax returns; The state Senate also passed legislation that would make it easier for the state to prosecute individuals who were pardoned by the president.". Retrieved May 9, 2019. 

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