(CNN)President Donald Trump’s expected batch of 100 pardons and commutations on the penultimate day of his presidency won’t be the highest of his recent predecessors. But his record of clemency could very well be the most controversial.Unlike past presidents, Trump has shown little interest in using the Justice Department’s Pardon Attorney system for assessing requests for executive clemency. Instead, petitioners are approaching the White House directly, calling or emailing senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows or White House counsel Pat Cipollone — when they can’t get a hold of Trump himself.Many of the people Trump has chosen to pardon so far fall along predictable lines: associates such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn who remained loyal to him through their legal troubles; criminals with friendly or familial ties to the administration, such as Jared Kushner’s father Charles; celebrities or people connected to celebrities, such as Rod Blagojevich; and those whose cause was taken up by conservative media, such as Blackwater security guards who massacred Iraqi civilians.He has pardoned or commuted the sentences of some people serving lengthy prison terms for low-level offenses, such as Alice Johnson, who spoke at the Republican National Convention.
But by and large, Trump’s pardon record has broken with historical norms. Many of the high-profile criminals he has pardoned have shown little contrition or remorse for their crimes and few have argued they were wrongfully convicted.He is expected to adhere to that record on Tuesday when he issues around 100 pardons or commutations. The final batch of clemency actions is expected to include a mix of criminal justice reform-minded pardons and more controversial ones secured or doled out to political allies. White collar criminals, high-profile rappers and a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach, Florida, who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, are expected to be on the list.