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Trump grants clemency to 143 people before leaving office

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Before leaving office, President Donald Trump grants clemency to 143 people, including former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Just before 1 a.m. ET Wednesday, President Trump granted pardons to 73 people and commuted sentences for 70 others. The list ranges from Trump allies to celebrities to non-violent drug offenders.

One of Trump’s top fundraisers, Elliot Broidy, is receiving a full pardon after pleading guilty to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws.

Further, Trump extended pardons to three former Republican congressmen: former representatives Rick Renzi, Robert Hayes and Duke Cunningham and commutated the sentence of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving time on corruption charges.

Aviem Sella, an Israeli air force officer who the U.S. accused of being a spy,
Bob Zangrillo, the Miami developer and venture capitalist charged in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal and Robert Hayes, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to lying to the F.B.I, also received pardons.

Rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, both convicted of weapon charges, were also included on the list.

Missing from the list were WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Tiger King star Joe Exotic — whose supporters had pushed for pardons.

Trump has until noon on Wednesday to issue any final pardons before leaving office.

The clemency announcement came after Trump delivered a farewell message video on his last full day in office.

“I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices, because that’s what you elected me to do,” Trump said.

He extended his “best wishes” to the new administration.

“This week we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. We extend our best wishes and also want them to have luck, a very important word.”

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Elections

BREAKING: Hunter Biden Found Guilty on All Three Felony Charges

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Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was found guilty on all three felony charges on Tuesday. After a six-day trial, a jury concluded that the first son lied on a federal gun-purchase background-check form by falsely claiming he was not a drug addict. The jury deliberated for three hours, starting Monday afternoon following the conclusion of closing arguments.

Hunter Biden was convicted on two charges for lying about his crack-cocaine addiction on federal gun paperwork when he purchased a Colt Cobra revolver on October 12, 2018. Additionally, he was found guilty of a third charge for possessing the firearm while addicted to crack cocaine.

According to National Review, the criminal trial exposed deep rifts within the Biden family. Hunter’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and his deceased brother Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie Biden, testified against him. This created an emotional divide within the family, especially when Naomi Biden, the eldest daughter of Buhle and Hunter, testified for the defense, pitting mother against daughter.

Federal prosecutors Derek Hines and Leo Wise led the case against Hunter Biden as part of special counsel David Weiss’s legal team. Throughout the trial, Weiss was present in the courtroom, often seen conversing and eating chocolates during breaks.

Prosecutors presented what they described as “overwhelming evidence” of Hunter Biden’s drug addiction at the time he completed the gun purchase. This evidence included witness testimony, text messages, videos, images, bank records, and excerpts from Hunter’s memoir. Key testimonies from Hallie Biden, gun salesman Gordon Cleveland, and ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan were crucial in establishing Hunter Biden’s pattern of drug use and his decision to lie about his addiction.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell argued that Hunter Biden’s behavior had improved around the time of the gun purchase, asserting that he did not “knowingly” lie on the federal paperwork. However, the testimonies of Kestan and Cleveland, along with Hunter Biden’s own admissions of drug use in texts and memoir excerpts, posed significant challenges to the defense’s narrative.

Throughout the trial, Lowell conducted extensive cross-examinations of the prosecution’s witnesses and disputed the context of the evidence presented. However, Leo Wise’s cross-examination of Naomi Biden, where he scrutinized her text messages with her father from October 2018, proved to be a pivotal moment, undermining her defense testimony.

Before the verdict, President Biden stated he would respect the jury’s decision and would not pardon his son if convicted. At the trial’s onset, President Biden issued a statement expressing pride in his son’s efforts to overcome his drug addiction.

Hunter Biden is scheduled to face another trial in September on nine federal tax charges related to his alleged failure to pay over $1.4 million in taxes over four years.

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