Criminals pardoned by Trump are now vocally supporting his re-election
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Dozens of accused or convicted criminals granted executive pardons or sentence commutations by Donald Trump are now backing his bid for a second term, according to a new report.

An analysis by the Washington Post found that at least 24 of those who received clemency from Trump are now backing his campaign with donations or public appearances on his behalf.

During his term, Trump signed 238 clemency orders. That’s a relatively low number compared to most modern presidents, though Trump was criticized for focusing clemency on people in his personal or political orbit.

Additionally, Trump frequently bypassed previously standard Justice Department screening and review processes, instead doling out pardons to allies, or convicts whose causes were championed by celebrities.  

Now, many of his most high-profile clemency grantees are returning the favor, including former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, rapper Lil Wayne, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Post found.

Dozens of accused or convicted criminals granted executive pardons or sentence commutations by Donald Trump are now backing his bid for a second term

Dozens of accused or convicted criminals granted executive pardons or sentence commutations by Donald Trump are now backing his bid for a second term

Dozens of accused or convicted criminals granted executive pardons or sentence commutations by Donald Trump are now backing his bid for a second term

Rod Blagojevich, a lifelong Democrat convicted of public corruption, now calls himself a die-hard 'Trumpocrat' and champions Trump in media interviews

Rod Blagojevich, a lifelong Democrat convicted of public corruption, now calls himself a die-hard 'Trumpocrat' and champions Trump in media interviews

Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, was facing a federal firearms charge when Trump pardoned him as one of his final acts in office. The rapper responded by endorsing Trump in his lyrics

Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, was facing a federal firearms charge when Trump pardoned him as one of his final acts in office. The rapper responded by endorsing Trump in his lyrics

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (left) and rapper Lil Wayne (right) are two clemency recipients who now vocally support Trump’s campaign

Blagojevich, a lifelong Democrat convicted of public corruption, now calls himself a die-hard ‘Trumpocrat’ and champions Trump in media interviews.

Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, was facing a federal firearms charge when Trump pardoned him as one of his final acts in office. The rapper responded by endorsing Trump in his lyrics. 

Arpaio, convicted of disobeying a judge’s order to stop profiling Hispanics, was one of Trump’s first pardons, and is now a vocal Trump supporter as he also campaigns for mayor of Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Other Trump pardon recipients have donated to his campaign, boosted him in media interviews, and one even works for his campaign, the Post found.

Some of the pardon beneficiaries were close Trump allies well before the grants of clemency, including Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon and Roger Stone. 

Several clemency recipients told the Post they would be supporting Trump now regardless of whether he had intervened on their behalf, including Arpaio, who said: ‘He reflects what I believe in.’ 

Trump himself has touted the presidential pardon power as ‘a beautiful thing’ and has suggested he will pardon many of his supporters who were charged in the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riot.

Bernie Kerik

Bernie Kerik

Angela Stanton

Angela Stanton

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and author Angela Stanton have both backed Trump after receiving pardons 

Adrianne Davis Miller met with Trump at a campaign event after her commuted her prison sentence for drug crimes on his last day in office

Adrianne Davis Miller met with Trump at a campaign event after her commuted her prison sentence for drug crimes on his last day in office

Adrianne Davis Miller met with Trump at a campaign event after her commuted her prison sentence for drug crimes on his last day in office

Overall, Trump granted less than 2 percent of clemency petitions filed during his term, a rate lower than any president since 1900 with the exception of George W. Bush, according to Pew Research

But his concentration of pardons on allies drew fury from critics, similar to the blowback Bill Clinton faced for his infamous pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose ex-wife had made substantial donations to Clinton’s presidential library. 

Following the Clinton pardon scandal, George W. Bush made only sparing use of the pardon, issuing clemency just 200 times. 

One that drew fire was his commutation of the sentence of former Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby for his role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal. But he resisted pressure from his vice president to issue a full pardon. 

It would be Trump who would issue a full pardon for Libby in 2018, at a time when the Robert Mueller probe was in full swing.

Barack Obama boosted grants of clemency dramatically, giving 1,927, but still granting just 5 percent of requests amid a huge spike in clemency petitions during his term.

However, Obama steered clear of pardoning people close to him, although drew some controversy for the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence following a massive security leak. 

Obama commuted the sentence to seven years, amid international concern over her being held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods.

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