Donald Trump 'will grant 100 pardons – then exit DC before Biden arrives'

Donald Trump is said to be planning to grant 100 pardons as his presidency draws to a close – before leaving the White House hours before Joe Biden’s arrival. President Trump will issue the pardons and commutations on Tuesday – his final full day in office – and then quit the White House before 8am on Wednesday, according to White House sources.

His friends have been invited to come to the White House between 6:15am and 7am on Wednesday, with Trump set to depart Joint Base Andrews in Maryland at 8am.

That will see Trump enjoy one final flight on Air Force One, with his destination widely-believed to be his Mar-a-Lago county club in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump will be the first president in 160 years not to attend his successor’s inauguration.

Joe Biden’s swearing-in is scheduled to begin around midday EST, with Trump able to issue pardons up until that time. Trump is said to have finalized the list of pardons and commutations on Sunday, although no indication has been given as to who has made the list.

CNN reported that the names are likely to be drawn from people flagged up to the president during his efforts to reform criminal justice efforts, as well as his own political allies. The president is not believed to have added his own name to the pardon document.

One source explained Trump’s methodology, saying: ‘Everything is a transaction. He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him.’

Some aides told CNN the president could still add last minute pardons to the list, for members of his family and himself. Trump has not been charged with any crime, but faces probes over his personal finances.

The president is said to have raised the prospect of pardoning himself, but reportedly backed off the idea in the wake of the January 6 US Capitol riots in Washington DC, which he has been impeached for allegedly inciting.

Plans for Trump to launch a 2024 re-election rally on Wednesday appear to have been put on ice, with the president automatically barred from running again if his impeachment results in a conviction in the US Senate.

A huge security effort is underway to protect the Biden inauguration from further trouble, with 20,000 troops on the streets of Washington DC.

Five of the city’s Metro stations will be shut down, with tourists discouraged from attending the normally-packed event.

Trump has remained almost silent since being permanently banned from Twitter on January 8, amid claims he has become an increasingly isolated figure during his final days in office.

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