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The outgoing President Donald Trump, in one of his last acts of government, freed current and former members of his administration from the terms of his ethical commitment established at the beginning of his administration, which included a ban on exerting pressure on his former agencies for five years.
Trump, who came to the White House as a promise to “drain the swamp” of corruption, signed in January 2017, in his first days in office, a decree in which he required members of his Administration to accept a code of conduct in which they are prohibited from lobbying for five years after leaving their posts, and committing for life not to perform work that would require them to register as “foreign agents.” Now, such norms have been eliminated.
Trump signed the revocation of the decree on Tuesday, and the one-page document was released by the White House shortly after midnight, hours after his term ends. The order says: “Employees and former employees subject to the commitments of Executive Order 13770 will not be subject to those commitments after noon on January 20, 2021”. At that time, Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn in as the new American president.
With this, Trump administration officials are left with the doors open to sign lucrative contracts with a view to using the influence acquired in Washington to now favor the private sector or foreign agencies.
Trump’s 2017 order authorized the attorney general to investigate any breach of the ethical commitment and to file civil lawsuits if necessary.
Biden is likely to sign a new decree with similar rules. For example, Trump announced the lifting of some travel restrictions as of January 26, but the Democratic team announced that this measure will not take effect.
According to his transition team, Biden seeks that all members of the Executive Branch sign an ethical commitment. As it turned out, the regulations aim to maintain the independence of the Judiciary, a sensitive area during the last Republican government.
In his last hours as president, Trump also signed 73 pardons and 70 commuted sentences. Among others, the last-minute presidential pardon benefited Steve Bannon, his former campaign manager, accused last year of defrauding the president’s own supporters in an effort to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the border between states. States and Mexico.
The pardon power, which comes from the US Constitution, is one of the most extensive available to a president. While pardons are usually granted to people who have been prosecuted, they can also cover cases where a court proceeding has not yet taken place.
The pardon is not reviewable by other powers of the Administration and the president does not have to give a reason to grant it. However, the power of pardon is not absolute; only applies to federal crimes.
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