As the clock ticks down on President Donald Trump’s time in office, hundreds of his allies — including some of his closest business associates and many high-profile criminals — are seeking clemency, reports CNN. So inundated is Trump’s staff with requests for pardons or commutations that a spreadsheet has been created to keep track of the requests. Trump has been eager to engage on who is requesting what. He’s been handed case summaries to review and, in some instances, has polled his network of associates about whom he should pardon.
Nowhere is the end of Trump’s term more obvious than in the push for pardons. “It’s turned crazy,” one person familiar with the efforts said. “There’s a lot of activity.” Because Trump has shown little interest in using the Justice Department’s Pardon Attorney system for assessing requests for clemency, petitioners are approaching the White House directly, calling or emailing senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows or White House counsel Pat Cipollone — when they can’t get ahold of Trump himself. “Everyone assumed there’s no formal process and they should reach out to the administration directly,” a source said. “Everyone hopes they have a friend of a friend of a friend of a cousin who they hope will get them to read their email.” If there is a governing principle in who appears most likely to secure clemency, it is someone the President either knows personally or who has powerful connections lobbying on their behalf. Trump is mulling the pardons at a juncture when loyalty appears his principal concern, complaining repeatedly that Republicans are deserting him when he needed them to help overturn the election results.