Trump Issues Late-Night Pardons On Eve Of Inauguration

Wednesday, January 20th 2021, 9:33 am
By: CBS News

President Trump issued 143 pardons and commutations in the early hours on Wednesday, including to his former campaign chair Steve Bannon, former top GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy and rapper Lil Wayne. The list of pardons did not include any of his family members.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden arrived in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday ahead of his inauguration, heading to the Lincoln Memorial for a ceremony honoring the 400,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19. In brief remarks, Mr. Biden emphasized the need for the nation to "heal."

Before heading to Washington, Mr. Biden gave an emotional farewell to Delaware at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center, named for his late son, Beau.

Mr. Biden said he has just "one regret," that Beau Biden, who died in 2015, could not be there. 

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, released a nearly 20-minute farewell video that touted his accomplishments but did not address Mr. Biden by name. Mr. Trump is scheduled to depart the White House at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, since he is skipping the inauguration. 

The National Guard is still checking vehicles heading for the Capitol, and authorities are also watching the skies after receiving a threat that extremists could use drones to disrupt the inauguration.

Two National Guardsmen were removed from inauguration duty over possible links to extremism. Another 10 were removed not for national security reasons but because unrelated red flags showed up in background checks.

Prosecutors on Tuesday announced conspiracy charges against Thomas Caldwell, who investigators allege is a leader of the anti-government group the Oath Keepers. Prosecutors said that he was involved in the planning and coordination of the January 6 assault on the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reconvened the Senate for the first time since the counting of the Electoral College votes was disrupted when a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. McConnell said Tuesday the mob was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Senate committees held confirmation hearings for five of Mr. Biden's key Cabinet nominees: Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and director of national intelligence nominee Avril Haines. 

Mr. Biden will take office with none of his Cabinet confirmed.