Who did Barack Obama pardon? How many people he and other presidents granted clemency to compared to Donald Trump

Obama granted far more pardons than Trump in his presidency - including Chelsea Manning

Donald Trump is not alone in exercising his executive power of clemency during his presidency.

The 45th president of the United States used his final hours in office to pardon or commute the sentences of more than 100 people, including former adviser Steve Bannon.

His decision attracted the world's spotlight on the same day of his successor Joe Biden's inauguration - a presidential ceremony which Trump said he would not attend, going against tradition.

Donald Trump and Barack Obama, pictured here at the US Capitol on 20 January 2017 - the day Trump was sworn in as president of the United States, have both exercised the presidential power to pardon. (Pic: Getty Images)

A president’s power to pardon originates from Article Two of the US Constitution which if granted allows a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences of their criminal sentencing.

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But how does Trump's pardoning compare to his predecessor, Barack Obama, and other US presidents?

How many people has Trump pardoned?

On the morning of Biden's swearing in, Trump announced he had granted clemency - the power to relieve or reduce criminal sentences - to 143 people.

Of that number, 70 people were pardoned and 73 people had their sentences commuted.

The people granted clemency ranged from lobbyists, financiers and rappers, including Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and key advisor in his 2016 election campaign Bannon.

Bannon was charged with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president's wall on the US-Mexico border. He pleaded not guilty.

The 67-year-old left the Trump administration in 2017 but the two men are said to have rekindled their relationship of late as the outgoing president sought support for his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

The 143 people granted clemency on 20 January is in addition to the 70 other pardons and 25 commutations granted by Trump throughout his four-year term in office, bringing his total to 238 overall.

How many people did Barack Obama pardon?

It is worth noting this number is far less than his predecessor, Barack Obama, who granted clemency to 1,927 people by the end of his second term in the White House.

Of that figure, 212 people were pardoned and 1,715 were commuted - setting the record for the highest number of commutations by a US president over the last century.

It is more commutations than the past 13 presidents combined.

Obama also holds the record for the largest single-day use of the clemency power, granting commutations to 330 federal inmates on his last full day in office on 19 January 2017.

Trump, in contrast, took a different approach to federal inmates on death row in the final weeks of his presidency when his administration executed six prisoners after losing the 2020 presidential election.

Obama's list of pardons include retired US Marine Corps four star general James Cartwright, who was due to stand trial for lying to the FBI, and former baseball player Willie McCovey fined for tax fraud.

Who are Chelsea Manning and Oscar López Rivera?

On 17 January 2017, Obama commuted the sentences of Chelsea Manning and Oscar López Rivera.

Manning, a former US army soldier, was convicted by court martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act after disclosing nearly 750,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

She was imprisoned from 2010 until 2017 when her sentence was commuted and has gone on to forge a career in public speaking.

Obama also commuted the sentence of Puerto Rican activist Oscar López Rivera who was imprisoned in 1981 for his alleged role in 130 bomb attacks, carried out by the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (FALN).

He was sentenced to 55 years in jail, with an further 15 years added in 1988 for conspiring to escape prison, but was commuted by Obama in 2017 having served 36 years.

How do Trump and Obama pardons compare to other US presidents?

Trump has used his pardon powers sparingly in comparison to previous US presidents, according to data collated by the Pew Research Center.

The Washington-based nonpartisan think tank has compiled a list of how many times a president has exercised their clemency power since 1900, the terms of 21 presidents.

During that time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd US president, used that power the most, accounting for 2,819 pardons and 488 commutations during his four terms in office between 1933-45.

The 28th US president, Woodrow Wilson, made 1,087 pardons and 1,366 commutations during his two terms between 1913-21 and Harry Truman, the 33rd US president, pardoned 1,913 and commuted 118 between 1945-53.

While George Bush Sr, the 41st president of the United States, only used his clemency power for 77 people during 1989-93.