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Trump pardons: Who can Donald Trump pardon? How do people get pardoned?

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President Trump will vacate the White House and hand the Presidency to Joe Biden on January 20. Congress has twice impeached the outgoing Commander-in-Chief, and the Senate could soon bar him from holding office ever again, leaving political experts unsure as to what he will do next. Mr Trump has few powers left from his position, among them is the ability to pardon people.

Who can Donald Trump pardon?

An outgoing President is comparatively hamstrung compared to one securely in power.

Mr Trump has few options left to meaningfully guide the country before Mr Biden takes command and revokes many of his policies.

One of the few unilateral powers he has is granting pardons.

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The President sits at the head of the executive branch, which is in charge of prosecution on a federal level.

Mr Trump can use this power to pardon anyone he chooses of federal crimes.

The act can exempt someone from prosecution of a given crime or set aside previous convictions.

Presidents can pardon anyone they choose, and Mr Trump has issued 70 during his first term.

How do you get pardoned?

While announcing a pardon seems straightforward, there is a level of bureaucracy involved.

People seeking executive clemency must apply via the US government.

Individuals must submit a request to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which works its way up the chain of command to the President, who makes the final decision.

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Pardons are ultimately limited in their scope as people can only secure clemency for a crime committed against the United States.

They don’t cover prosecutions under state or other local courts, or protect people from punishment if they commit another federal crime.

One person the President cannot pardon is himself, something Mr Trump has allegedly inquired about before.

No US President has ever successfully pardoned themselves, but they can go an alternative route.

Writing on Penn Today’s website, Kermit Roosevelt, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, suggested the President could have his Vice pardon him but added he might find it “embarrassing”.

He said: “People disagree about whether the President can pardon himself.

“So, Trump might worry that it wouldn’t hold up in court.

“It would be simpler for him to resign and have Pence pardon him—the Nixon route—but he might find that embarrassing.”

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