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Trump Considers Pardoning Arpaio This Week

Arpaio at Trump rally

In the last few days, the most powerful man in the world showed that he is a servant to the racist system that supports him. He kowtowed to the KKK, Neo-Nazis and the Alt-Right by remaining silent to the violence at Charlottesville committed partially in his name. He gritted his teeth as he delivered an insincere, forced condemnation of white supremacists. He read canned comments inciting love for each other, then lashed out hatefully against business leaders who resigned from his council, and retweeted an image of himself as a train plowing into a CNN reporter, just like a white nationalist terrorist plowed his car into innocent victims in Charlottesville.

To top it all off, he told Fox News he is “seriously considering” pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently criminally convicted for willfully violating a court order to stop racial profiling.

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump told Fox on Sunday, August 13. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

“He’s a great American patriot,” Trump added, “and I hate to see what has happened to him.”

The President of the United States is granted power under the Constitution to pardon crimes committed against the country. And Trump may exercise that power soon. “I might do it right away, maybe early this week,” he said.

Arpaio was convicted after federal prosecutors proved his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office racially profiled and illegally detained Latinos, violating their constitutional rights. He is due to be sentenced in October and faces up to six months in jail. It’s possible Trump could wait till after the sentencing to pardon Arpaio, though many legal experts doubt the 85-year-old ex-sheriff will be sentenced to jail time.

Following Trump’s statement, Fox News contacted Arpaio, who responded, “I am happy he understands the case. I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty.” However, Arpaio – a longtime outspoken supporter and friend of Trump – seems to be more concerned about the President’s reputation than Trump himself is: “I would never ask him for a pardon, especially if it causes heat,” Arpaio said. “I don’t want to do anything that would hurt the President.” 

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang, who was a prosecutor in the contempt case against Arpaio, made this statement regarding the potential pardon: “President Trump would be literally pardoning Joe Arpaio’s flagrant violation of federal court orders that prohibited the illegal detention of Latinos. He would undo a conviction secured by his own career attorneys at the Justice Department. Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.”

An official presidential endorsement of racism? Sounds like business as usual for Trump.

The ACLU has created a petition page, which you can sign to send the message to Trump’s counsel Don McGahn: “Do NOT pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”

The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund will keep you updated on this developing issue.