Kyle Rittenhouse: Trump Planning to Pardon Kenosha Shooter Before Leaving Office?

There is speculation that President Donald Trump is planing to pardon Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse as part of his recent pardoning spree before leaving the White House.

There is widespread speculation on social media that Trump intends to pardon Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse before leaving the White House as part of his recent string of pardons.

On Tuesday, the president granted pardons to 15 people,including two men convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, two former Republican congressmen and four former Blackwater USA guards who were convicted in the killings of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

However, speculation surrounding Trump's intention to pardon Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old shooter who killed two protesters and injured another during protests against police brutality in Kenosha in August, was sparked by a BLM activist's tweet.

"BREAKING: Donald Trump plans on granting a full pardon to the Kenosha killer Kyle Rittenhouse," tweeted user @VoLinxx.

Kyle Rittenhouse was captured on video shooting three protesters with an AR-15 assault rifle he was carrying on the third night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23. Rittenhouse has since been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, for the shooting.

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse on the night of the shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Twitter

The fact that Trump has previously refused to condemn the teen's actions and has instead suggested that he acted in self-defense, led Rittenhouse to become the number one trending topic on Twitter with users expressing their anger over the president's alleged plans to give the teenager immunity from prosecution.

"Disgusting, this decision must be reversed. We can't let him do this," wrote one user, while another commented. "Rittenhouse is a murderer and deserves to rot in prison."

Can Trump Pardon Rittenhouse?

President Donald Trump

While Twitter is up in arms over Trump's potential pardoning of Rittenhouse, the president does not have the powers to exonerate the teenager, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Not only has Rittenhouse not yet been convicted of the charges against him, Trump cannot pardon Rittenhouse as the president can only pardon federal criminal convictions and the Illinois resident has been charged with murder by the state of Wisconsin, which makes it a state crime. The power to pardon state convictions only lie with the state's governor.