On the last evening of the way-too-long-running series, “Trump: America under Siege,” Donald Trump trotted out his favorite executive power and waved that magic pardon wand like Tinkerbell on a bender. The late night list from the White House featured a staggering 73 pardons and 70 commutations. With reports earlier in the week that Rudy Giuliani was offering up pardons at $2 million each, this might be the greatest Trump fundraising scam since … Giuliani helped Trump bilk $500 million out of his followers for a fake legal assault on free elections.
Surprisingly, several of those on the list were people who actually deserved pardons—like those still facing long sentences for marijuana offenses. But that doesn’t mean Trump didn’t take time to pass a cleaning rag over his pals. That includes pardoning Steve Bannon for scamming Trump supporters out of millions for a fake wall-building scheme. After all, it’s a dark day if you can’t safely dupe Trump supporters.
Of course, Bannon also has ties to the January 6 insurgency. But that didn’t stop him from getting the same all clear that was previously handed out to Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and most of the 2016 Russia-loving crew.
Also getting a pass on Tuesday: Republican moneyman Elliott Broidy, who pleaded guilty to a little conspiracy to influence the Justice Department to drop an investigation into a multibillion dollar foreign scheme for which he took a multimillion dollar payment. Broidy also shared one of Trump’s hobbies, in that he paid $1.6 million in a hush-money deal with a former Playboy model.
Another big money donor, Robin Hayes, got a pass on attempted bribery. So did lobbyist Paul Erickson—a Republican operative best known for being one of several conservatives who fell hard for Russian spy Maria Butina—got clemency from Trump for wire fraud and money laundering.
One of the several dozen parents involved in the “Varsity Blues” college bribery scandal got a pass: Bob Zangrillo. Why Zangrillo? He’s a real estate developer from Miami.
At least two rappers made the list—Lil Wayne and Kodak Black—both on weapons charges. Because pardoning rappers has always made Trump feel … Hip? Young? Something.
Sorting out the full list will take some time. The most surprising thing may be that Trump’s own name is not on the list. Neither are members of his family. But don’t forget: as long as this is, it may not be all. Because right up until Joe Biden puts his hand on that Bible, Trump still has the wand.