Watchdog says Trump's decision to pardon Bannon fails 'to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon'

Watchdog says Trump's decision to pardon Bannon fails 'to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon'
Photo via the White House.

Outgoing President Donald Trump released a flurry of late-night pardons that immediately drew ire and criticism from watchdog groups, law experts, and legal observers -- chief among them, ,his decision to pardon former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

According to The Daily Beast, Trump's White House released a statement about Bannon's pardon describing him as "an important leader in the conservative movement" who "is known for his political acumen." The disgraced outgoing president reportedly defied the recommendations of his legal counsel and made the decision after speaking with his former strategist-turned-accused-swindler on Tuesday.

The watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a statement of criticism in response to Bannon receiving a pardon from Trump. The organization compared Trump's decisions to Nixon's and explained why the outgoing president's actions are worse.

"Even Nixon didn't pardon his cronies on the way out. Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon," the statement read.

Bannon's pardon comes just months after he was arrested and charged with donors who contributed to the "We Build the Wall" fundraising campaign which raised more than $25 million in funds, some of which were used inappropriately. The publication reports that "prosecutors accused Bannon and three others of pocketing the donations and using the money for their personal expenses, with the former White House strategist accused of personally skimming off $1 million."

Bannon plead not guilty to the charges and was released on a $5 million bond that was secured by "$1.75 million in cash or real property," according to CNN. As part of Bannon's bail conditions, he was "prohibited from travel on private airplanes, yachts or boats without permission from the court."

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