Steve Bannon is about to learn that a presidential pardon only goes so far in New York. Donald Trump pardoned his onetime top aide on his last day as president, allowing Bannon to avoid a trial on US charges that he defrauded contributors to a fund to build Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border. Thanks to a state law enacted three years ago -- which was aimed at weakening Trump’s power to protect people in his orbit from criminal prosecutions -- the 68-year-old political consultant now will have to answer to an indictment over his role in the “We Build the Wall” project.
The US Constitution gives the president power to pardon anyone convicted or accused of a federal crime, and even issue a preemptive pardon to someone who hasn’t yet been charged. One example is when then-President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, in 1974 after the Watergate scandal.