Douglas Andrews / Jan. 20, 2021

Trump Tackles Some Last-Minute Prerogatives

On his last day in office, the president tended to some important duties.

Prior to today, only 37 men had ever experienced what it’s like to leave the world’s most important job on a date certain. Four presidents — William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren Harding, and Franklin Roosevelt — died in office, while four others — Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy — were assassinated.

That number is now 38, as Donald John Trump has served out his term.

At some point before leaving the White House this morning, the president would’ve pushed himself away from the Resolute Desk one last time. One wonders what it must’ve felt like. And then, around 8:10 this morning, he and First Lady Melania walked hand-in-hand out of the White House and across the lawn to board Marine One for, again, the last time. He told reporters that the last four years have been “the honor of a lifetime.” Then the chopper took off and headed for Joint Base Andrews, where the Trumps were greeted by thousands of supporters.

“I will always fight for you,” he told the crowd at Andrews. “I will be watching. I will be listening. And I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success.”

He also weighed in with a remark that was pure Trump: “I hope they don’t raise your taxes. If they do, I told you so.” And then it was off to Florida.

Before leaving, though, Trump took care of some unfinished business: the official declassification and release of Crossfire Hurricane documents and a slew of presidential pardons.

As Jerry Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner reports, “The White House issued a memo Tuesday night, on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, in which Trump said the Justice Department provided the White House with a ‘binder of materials’ tied to the Trump-Russia investigation on Dec. 30.”

Dunleavy’s piece provides a comprehensive summary of the Spygate affair. As he notes, “Trump previously called for all of the Russia investigation documents to be made public. … But following a federal court order, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told a judge that month that the president’s tweets were not declassification orders.”

The FBI, of course, objected to any further declassification, because the revelations therein will no doubt make the leadership of the once-proud agency look even worse than it now does. Still, the bureau has the final say on redactions, so we can expect pages upon pages of declassified blackness.

As we noted Monday, we’re not exactly bullish on justice being served, but perhaps Special Counsel John Durham will prove us wrong.

In other last-minute presidential prerogatives, Trump issued a slew of pardons. As James Antle, also of the Examiner, reports, “President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the federal sentences of 70 other people in the final hours of his administration, headlined by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump also granted relief to rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who were convicted on weapons charges, as well as to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick, a Democrat, was convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering. He was serving a 28-year sentence. Trump through the White House press secretary cited Diamond and Silk and Pastor Paula White, strong supporters of his, as backers of commuting Kilpatrick’s sentence.”

Last but not least, President Trump issued a last-minute proclamation that speaks to an issue he fought for far beyond anyone’s expectations: life. To that end, you might mark your calendars for this Friday, January 22. Per President Trump’s direction, that day will be National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The significance? January 22 is the 48th anniversary of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which declared abortion a national right.

That’ll do it. At noon, President Trump officially put the fate of the nation in the hands of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and a Democrat-controlled Congress. In the days and months ahead, we’ll see just how prophetic H.L. Mencken was when he spoke of the people deserving to get their democracy “good and hard.”

Adios, Mr. President. And thank you.

Anyone else miss him yet?

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