December 23, 2020

So we've seen who Trump named in his first wave of lame-duck pardons, including the Blackwater war criminals responsible for the Nisour Square massacre of 14 civilians, figures in the Mueller investigation, three convicted Republican congressmen, and two Border Patrol agents who shot an unarmed suspect.

Bill Kristol has a theory that Trump was saving the really controversial pardons until after Bill Barr was gone (today is Barr's last day.)

More controversial than shooting Iraqi children? Eek. Let's put on our thinking caps and look at the possibilities:

  • Ghislaine Maxwell, famous enabler and facilitator for the late Jeffrey Epstein. Since everyone believes Epstein (and thus Maxwell) had dirt on Trump, this one seems like a no-brainer.
  • Marcy Wheeler thinks convicted child rapist George Nader is likely. While he is a CHILD RAPIST, Trump will be more concerned about Nader lying to protect the discussions between Russia, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates during the transition. (As she points out, if he also pardons Ghislaine Maxwell, this would be very much on brand.)
  • It's a given that he will pardon Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner for their numerous alleged tax crimes, fraud, and making millions off the presidency -- especially Ivanka, who worked in the White House. (Probably not Tiffany, since as far as we know, she doesn't actually do anything.)
  • Rudy Giuliani seems likely. But his alleged crimes will linger on if he's still criming, as also seems likely. The SDNY investigation is federal, and Trump can pardon him for federal crimes that haven't been charged. But that still leaves the state of NY, and Trump just might decide not to bother.
  • I would be very surprised if he didn't pardon Julian Assange, for obvious reasons of self-interest. We don't know exactly what Assange did on Trump's behalf, but we have a general idea.
  • Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates seems like a long shot, because he cooperated with investigators. But did he hold something back that Trump will reward him for?
  • Edward Snowden? Yeah, I could see this one being the one that would make Bill Barr resign.
  • Reality Winner is a long shot, but I could see Trump doing it to stick it to Obama, whose administration prosecuted her. I'd be okay with that, she was more of a hero than a traitor.

Who did I miss? Leave your predictions in the comments.

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