Donald Trump is spending his last day in the White House on Tuesday, an end of his mandate marked by a deep division of the United States, and could take advantage of these last moments to widely use his power of grace in a last snub to his opponents.
On Monday, he announced the upcoming lifting of the entry ban for European and Brazilian travelers in order to fight against the coronavirus, a measure immediately rejected by his successor, Joe Biden.
And for his last day, the Republican billionaire could strike a blow by pardoning up to a hundred people, according to several media.
In recent months, Donald Trump has exonerated collaborators and relatives, some of whom were convicted in connection with the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and its campaign team in 2016.
These pardons could concern Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, rapper Lil Wayne, who faces up to 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm, a famous Florida doctor convicted of fraud, or his former advisor who fell in disgrace Steve Bannon.
Mr. Trump could also pardon himself, members of his family or some of the attackers against the Capitol on January 6, when hundreds of Donald Trump supporters invaded the seat of Congress in an attempt to invalidate Joe’s victory. Biden. Five people died in the violence.
– “A bad thing” –
The outgoing president, who called on his supporters to march on Congress, has been indicted for “incitement to insurgency” and his impeachment trial could open in the Senate shortly after the inauguration of his successor.
“What if he pardoned these people who are terrorists on the Capitol?”, The leader of the Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, worried on Sunday.
This prospect worries even within the Republican camp. “Asking for a pardon for these people would be a bad thing,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a close friend of Mr. Trump, warned Sunday on Fox New.
The federal capital seems for several days in a state of siege, traumatized by the murderous assault on the Capitol.
The security measures surrounding the investiture ceremony, scheduled for 12:00 local Wednesday (17:00 GMT), are exceptional. Some 25,000 National Guard soldiers and thousands of police officers from across the country will be deployed to provide security.
Nearly 70 protesters have been charged with participating in the violence and hundreds of people are under investigation. Among them, elected officials and former or active members of the police.
In order to ensure that the National Guards do not pose a security risk, the FBI has announced that it is performing background checks on reservists who will be deployed on Wednesday.
Acting Defense Minister Christopher Miller said on Monday that he had received “no information about a threat from within.”
– A squared city –
In a farewell message posted on Twitter Monday, Melania Trump called on Americans to be “do everything with passion and remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified.”
In the capital, armed soldiers and police stationed in front of armored vehicles have replaced passers-by and traffic in streets blocked by concrete blocks.
High gates, sometimes topped with barbed wire, protect the “red zone” between Capitol Hill and the White House. We are far from the atmosphere of jubilation that had invaded the capital after the victory of Joe Biden.
The authorities also dissuaded the population from going to Washington to attend the inauguration ceremony, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and called on to follow this day on television.
The organizing committee of the ceremony has limited the number of guests and on the huge esplanade of the “National Mall”, where thousands of Americans traditionally come to see their new president be sworn in, more than 190,000 flags have been planted to represent this ceremony. absent audience.
Donald Trump plans to leave Washington early Wednesday to return to his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. He is the first incumbent president not to want to attend his successor swearing-in since Andrew Johnson in 1869.