WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a late flurry of clemency action benefiting nearly 150 people, including rap stars and former members of Congress.
The pardons and commutations for 143 people, including Bannon, were announced after midnight Wednesday in the final hours of Trump's White House term.
A person familiar with Trump's thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, stressed that Trump has flip-flopped repeatedly as he mulls his final clemency action, and warned the decision could be reversed until it's formally unveiled.
Trump was expected to offer pardons and commutations to as many as 100 people in the hours before he leaves office at noon Wednesday, according to two people briefed on the plans. The list is expected to include names unfamiliar to the American public -- regular people who have spent years languishing in prison -- as well as politically connected friends and allies like those he's pardoned in the past.
Bannon has been charged with duping thousands of investors who believed their money would be used to fulfill Trump's chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border.
Instead, he allegedly diverted over a million dollars, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself.
Bannon did not respond to questions Tuesday.
Trump has already pardoned a slew of longtime associates and supporters, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law; his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone; and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.