Donald Trump has pardoned 73 people during the final hours of his term as US President, including a number of his allies and former aides.
Under the US Constitution, the President can pardon someone, cancelling a federal criminal conviction. Presidential pardons are common but controversial, with some previous Presidents having pardoned large numbers of people, including close friends and allies
In contrast to other Presidents, Mr Trump has granted a low number of pardons, though he has now granted pardons to 73 people including his former adviser Steve Bannon (who is facing fraud charges and Rapper Lil Wayne (officially Dwayne Carter, who pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge in 2020).
Meanwhile, the President has also granted commutations to another 70 people, which will see their prison sentence ended or shortened. Those to have received commutations from Mr Trump include his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was convicted of tax and bank fraud.
Donald Trump currently still remains President and will do so until Joe Biden takes the oath of office outside the US Capitol building later. Mr Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States is set to begin around 12pm local time (5pm GMT).
In a farewell address shared on YouTube on Tuesday, Donald Trump reflected on his Presidency and said;
“Together with millions of hardworking patriots across this land, we built the greatest political movement in the history of our country. We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world. It was about “America First” because we all wanted to make America great again. We restored the principle that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Our agenda was not about right or left, it wasn’t about Republican or Democrat, but about the good of a nation, and that means the whole nation.”
Speaking about the inauguration of the new administration, Mr Trump said: “We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck”. Mr Trump also said he would “pray for its success”, though failed to mention either Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, showing that he still considers the election result to be illegitimate.
Donald Trump ends his term in office as the only President in US history to have been impeached twice, with the debate on whether to convict Mr Trump of the impeachment charges likely to dominate discussion in the coming weeks.