It’s traditional for an outgoing American president to issue pardons. How many depends on the president, but as he enters his last full day in office today it’s expected that Donald Trump will announce 100 or so to add to the 94 who have already benefitted from his largesse.

How can a president pardon someone?

Because the absolute power to do so is enshrined in Article II of the US Constitution, a power which has been used by virtually every president since George Washington’s time in office in the late 18th century.

Any notable pardons?

James Buchanan pardoned Brigham Young, founder of Salt Lake City and a leading Mormon. Abraham Lincoln pardoned 264 Dakota Indians who had taken part in the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862. Andrew Johnson pardoned three conspirators in Lincoln’s subsequent assassination. Calvin Coolidge pardoned Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey. Richard Nixon pardoned Jimmy Hoffa and Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. And so on up to Bill Clinton (he pardoned his own brother), George W Bush (rapper and convicted cocaine smuggler John Forte) and Barack Obama (whistle-blower and anti-war icon Chelsea Manning).

Can a president pardon himself?

A very good question. Donald Trump would like to think so, though opinion (like most everything else in the US) is divided on the subject. According to reports emerging after a White House meeting on Sunday, Trump’s own name is not on the list of those about to receive a presidential pardon though the reason for that may have less to do with precedent and more to do with the fact that it will make him look guilty of something. However he may issue pardons for children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr., and other names mentioned as possibly being on his list are his personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani and former adviser Steve Bannon.

Who won’t be on the list?

Julian Assange has been mentioned as someone thought not to be on the list, but the fact his name is being associated with a presidential pardon even in the negative means … he could be on the list. It’s also unlikely that you’ll find on the list the names of Jenna Ryan or Jacob Chansley, two of the hundreds of people who invaded the Capitol building on January 6. Ryan, a Texan estate agent, flew to Washington in a private jet and stopped for a selfie on the Capitol steps. Interviewed by CBS News after the police came knocking, she said: “I would like a pardon from the president of the United States. I think that we all deserve a pardon. I’m facing a prison sentence.” Meanwhile Chansley, who was photographed in the building shirtless, wearing horns and carrying a spear, responded to his arrest through his attorney who said he too deserved a pardon because he had only “hitched his wagon” to Donald Trump.