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US President Donald Trump is expected to pardon former White House aide Steve Bannon today during his final hours in office.
Trump reportedly said he will grant clemency to Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
He was not expected to pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was at the forefront of unsuccessful efforts to get the results of the 2020 presidential election overturned.
Bannon was charged last year with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president's wall on the US-Mexico border.
The decision to pardon him will not be official until Trump signs the paperwork.
Bannon along with three others is charged with defrauding donors of more than a million dollars
(Image: Getty Images)
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It comes after Trump pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, as well as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges, a senior administration official said.
According to CNN, Trump told people he had made the decision to pardon Bannon – who along with three others is charged with defrauding donors of more than a million dollars – as one of his final acts in office.
The NY Times reports that the White House had planned to release the list of those granted clemency earlier on Tuesday, but the debate over Bannon was part of the delay.
Bannon, once the editor of alt-right website Breitbart, served as White House chief strategist under Donald Trump for the first seven months of his administration.
He also ran Trump's successful presidential campaign in 2016.
The charges of wire fraud and money laundering relate to a 'We Build The Wall' fundraising campaign which prosecutors in the US Attorney's office say defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors.
Bannon ran Trump's successful presidential campaign in 2016
(Image: Getty Images)
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Donald Trump leaves office today, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as the nation's next president.
White House officials had advised Trump against pardoning Bannon but the two men have lately rekindled their relationship as Trump sought support for his unproven claims of voter fraud, an official familiar with the situation said.
Bannon, 67, is the latest prominent political ally to receive clemency from Trump, who has often used the powers of the executive branch to reward loyalists and punish his enemies.
Trump previously pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversation with the former Russian ambassador.
He also commuted the prison term for Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty in federal court in December to illegally possessing a firearm and faced up to 10 years in prison.
He has expressed support for Trump's criminal justice reform efforts.
Kodak Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false statement in order to buy a firearm.