President Donald J. Trump returns home after disembarking Marine One on the South Lawn at the White House on Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • President Trump seems determined to be the center of attention in his final few days in office.
  • In the wake of the attack on the US Capitol, Trump has lost many allies and faces an unprecedented second impeachment trial.
  • But until noon on January 20, Trump retains the vast powers of his office, and seems intent on using them.
  • The logistics of his final hours in office, which have emerged in leaks, seem tailor-made to compete for attention with Biden's inauguration.
  • Trump is also said to be planning a last-minute spree of pardons, which he can issue unilaterally and would spawn another chaotic news cycle.
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Back in 2009, outgoing President George W Bush invited President-elect Barack Obama to meet all four surviving former US presidents for lunch at the White House. 

The former presidents - Jimmy Carter, George H W Bush, and Bill Clinton - put their political differences aside for a unique photo-op to highlight their mutual goodwill and commitment to US democracy. 

Twelve years on, it is a very different story. President Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's win, stirring conspiracy theories about a vast plot to deprive him of a second term.

He is facing a second impeachment trial after encouraging the Washington, DC, crowd which went on to trash the US Capitol on January 6.

And, according to reports, Trump's final days in office are tailor-made to keep the spotlight on himself at the expense of Biden, who takes office on January 20.

Outlets including CNN and The Washington Post on Sunday reported that Trump is planning to issue hundreds of presidential pardons before leaving office. According to The New York Times, he continues to talk about pardoning himself and his adult children. 

Trump is boycotting Biden's inauguration, which will be held under unprecedented security following the Capitol riot.

Instead, he plans to fly to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where he is expected to land just ahead of Biden's inauguration ceremony, a photo-op likely to drag attention away from Biden in real time. 

Trump was reportedly planning an even more audacious Inauguration Day spectacle, and touted the idea of spending January 20 announcing his 2024 candidacy to a rally of supporters.

However, that plan appears to have faded from view given his political struggles - if he is convicted by the Senate, Congress could move to ban him from all public office, disqualifying him from running again.

Out of office, Trump will have a far smaller megaphone, with his Twitter account still out of his hands and bands on other platforms.

The dynamic has put an ever starker time-limit on Trump's ability to dominate the news cycle, but he seems determined to use the powers left to him while he can.

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