January 20th, 2021
Trump left a note for Biden and issued pardons in his final hours at White House
Before departing the White House, Trump left a note for incoming president Joe Biden, according to Fox News.
Further, the report says that the content of the note is known only to Trump and Biden, and that it is normal for the presidents to leave a note for their successor.After the rampant breaking of norms over the course of his presidency, it's interesting to note which traditions Trump chooses to heed at this late date. One can't help but wonder what exactly Trump had to say to his successor.
Trump’s note for Biden is in the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, the report says.Trump left the note with an aide before departing instead of entering the Oval Office. Trump refused to attend the inauguration ceremony and held a ceremony for his departure at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where he promised to "be back in some form." At the ceremony, Trump celebrated the successes of his administration and sent his condolences to those families suffering from the hardships of "the China virus."
The tradition of leaving a note was started by President Ronald Reagan, who left the note for his successor, George H.W. Bush in 1989.
As per Fox News, outgoing VP Mike Pence also left a note for the incoming Vice President Kamala Harris.Notably, Pence elected to attend the inauguration instead of Trump's departure ceremony, citing logistical difficultiesIt should be clear at this point that the long marriage of convenience between Trump and the GOP establishment has, by and large, evaporated. At least until Trump can prove he has enough political juice left to make him at a relevant quantity in the 2022 elections.
Also, in the final hours of his presidency, Trump issued 73 pardons and 70 commutations.This is also in-line with the presidential tradition of using clemency powers in the last few hours.It would be hypocritical to offer blanket criticism for Trump's whole roster of pardons and commutations, as outgoing administrations of both major parties are have offered clemency to an eyebrow-raising cast of characters over the years. As CNN notes with a bit of journalistic understatement, what sets this batch apart is the "unusual number of whom have been swept up in corruption or lying charges."
Those pardoned include Trump’s onetime political strategist, a former top fundraiser (Elliott Broidy), two popular rappers (Lil Wayne and Kodak Black); Bob Zangrillo (Miami developer and venture capitalist); Aviem Sella (Israeli air force officer accused of being a spy); William Walters (professional sports gambler) and more.Trump pardoned former adviser Steve Banon, charged with his involvement in private fundraising for the construction of the border wall -- charges to which Banon pleaded not guilty. Lil Wayne and Kodak Black faced federal weapons charges, while William Walters had his 28-year sentence commuted. Notably absent from the pardons were Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
Trump’s list, however, neither includes his name or the names of his family members.However, The Hill reported in an exclusive that Trump did, in fact, pardon himself according to The Hill's team of White House correspondents who obtained official documents. The president can actually pardon himself from crimes that he hasn't been charge with yet.Trump has also declassified documents related to the Russia Collusion Hoax in his final full day in office over FBI objections. Documents show that former MI6 agent Christopher Steele leaked the information as a way to help Hillary Clinton and Great Britain.Trump's actions in his final days in office played like a greatest hits of his particular brand of grievance politics: Dismissing his own intelligence agency's advice to settle some perceived score with a political rival, signing a raft of executive orders with the sole apparent goal being to trip up the incoming administration, and lashing out at GOP members who dared "defy" him by certifying the results of the election.