Statement on Trump’s Late Night Pardons

In the middle of the night of his last day in office, outgoing President Donald Trump granted clemency to 143 people, including many politicians and political figures charged with or convicted of corruption-related offenses.

“This reads less like a list of pardons than a desperate, last-minute argument that political corruption should not be a crime,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. “Corruption is and should be illegal, and with President Trump out of office, we may see that proven true once again.”

American Oversight has been investigating Trump’s use and abuse of the presidential clemency powers, including the pardons and commutations that he previously issued to political allies such as Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, and will demand answers about this latest wave of pardons as well.

In March, American Oversight sued Trump, along with his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and the Executive Office of the President, to allow the public to have access to the records of the White House’s so-called clemency task force. The group, which was reportedly headed by Kushner, sought to identify and recommend potential candidates to receive clemency from Trump. Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, groups like the task force are subject to transparency requirements, and American Oversight’s litigation is ongoing.