Trump pardons his partner in crime, crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio (Updated)

The Trump administration has made prodigious use of the “Friday night news dump” since taking office. And with much of the nation distracted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the potential natural disaster of catastrophic flooding to occur over the next several days,  the Trump administration announced, among other moves, the first presidential pardon issued by President Trump to former Maricopa County Sheriff crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio. President Donald Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

It was not a pardon issued in the “regular order” of how pardons are issued by the Department of Justice, Standards for Consideration of Clemecy Petitioners, but rather was a patently political pardon issued by the president to a political supporter and friend — Trump announced his intentions at his Phoenix campaign rally — a dispensation if you will, to Trump’s partner in crime in the racist Obama “birther” movement and his anti-immigrant nationalism movement.

Arpaio was found by the court to have singled out people based on their race for disproportionate law enforcement scrutiny with his immigration sweeps, which violated their constitutional civil rights and the fundamental principle of equal justice under the law.

Arpaio was ordered by the Court to cease and desist, and his office agreed to a consent agreement with the Department of Justice to monitor his compliance. Arpaio defiantly violated the court’s order and that agreement. Arpaio had a legal duty to obey the court’s order while appealing it. Arpaio was properly found guilty of criminal contempt of the court’s order.

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio sends the message that some people are above the law if they have friends in high places in the White House.

This is an insult to the rule of law, to the judiciary, and to American citizens who put their faith and trust in the American legal system of justice. When the president abuses the power of his office by issuing pardons to his family, friends and political supporters, justice is not served. Justice is denied.

This pardon was also meant to be a signal to members of the Trump campaign who are under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Trump-Putin campaign investigation that they do not have to cut an immunity deal with Mueller for their testimony. The president is signaling to them “I have your back, do not cooperate with Mueller, I will pardon you before you face legal jeopardy.”

In this respect, the implication of a “get out of jail free card” pardon from the president should properly be viewed as witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

On the very day that Trump issued the Arpaio pardon, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining what role, if any, former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have played in a private effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, according to people familiar with the matter.” Mueller Probes If Flynn Had Role in Clinton Emails Hunt (pay wall article). Flynn had previously sought immunity to “tell his story.”

NBC News also reported that “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued grand jury subpoenas seeking testimony from public relations executives who worked on an international campaign organized by former Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, citing people familiar with the matter.” Mueller seeking testimony from PR executives with Manafort ties: NBC.

Does anyone seriously believe that Trump will not issue a pardon to his sons and to his son-in-law Jared Kushner should they face legal jeopardy from Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Of course he will.  Trump has no respect for the Constitution or the rule of law.

Timing is everything, however. What Trump may not realize is that once a pardon is issued, these witnesses can no longer assert their fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination because they no longer face criminal jeopardy. They can be forced to testify. And if they refuse or lie under oath, they can be charged again for a new crime.

Other moves by the Trump administration in the “Friday night news dump”:

Sebastian Gorka, a controversial White House staffer who served as a fiery spokesman for President Trump on national security matters, abruptly left the administration on Friday as his nationalist faction was being silenced, four people briefed on Gorka’s exit confirmed. Sebastian Gorka, a fiery nationalist and Bannon ally, abruptly exits White House. UPDATE: You just knew that this was coming: Gorka to return to Breitbart.

President Trump on Friday directed the Pentagon to ban the recruitment of openly transgender people, but is leaving it to military leaders to determine whether individuals already in the armed forces should be allowed to continue to serve. Trump directs Pentagon to implement ban on transgender service members, bans sex-reassignment surgery.

UPDATE: The New York Times reports that Trump Asked Top Aides Months Ago if Arpaio Case Could Be Dropped, Officials Say. The attorney general and White House counsel promptly said no to the president, who has often been indifferent to the notion of separation of powers (and the rule of law).

The Hill adds, Obama adviser: Trump asking to drop case against Arpaio could get him impeached.

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41 Responses to Trump pardons his partner in crime, crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio (Updated)

  1. Shannon Watts‏Verified account @shannonrwatts 19h19 hours ago

    The president tweets while Houston sinks.

    https://twitter.com/shannonrwatts/status/901866759908503553

    • Trump’s most recent tweets about Houston. So “presidential”…

      Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 14h14 hours ago

      HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible.Thanks!

      Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 22h22 hours ago

      Major rescue operations underway!

      • What is so obvious here is his detachment from the American people. He can barely get out a couple of tweets about a major catastrophe unfolding in the country he supposedly leads.

  2. The Hill‏Verified account @thehill 5h5 hours ago

    Arizona’s largest newspaper on Arpaio pardon: Racism isn’t just ok with Trump, “it’s a goal” http://hill.cm/oA96PZg

  3. Adam Schiff‏Verified account @RepAdamSchiff 3h3 hours ago

    Arpaio action was appalling & political. It also sends message to witnesses in Russia investigation to keep quiet, stay loyal & get pardon.

  4. North Of The River

    Can I get a “pardon” when I ride my bicycle backwords on Sidewalks???

  5. I forgot to add at the time judge gary nelson had over hundred thousand dollars in gambing debts that suddenly got paid by the good tooth fairy.

  6. I have lived in this state 60 years. it has always been law and order for the people on the bottom and mercy and forgiveness for the people on top. many years ago the bread companies were convicted of price fixing school lunches and were given suspended sentences. at the same time a homeless person was given a 5 year sentence for burglary and criminal trespassing for being caught in a dumpster behind the bread company looking for food. when the judge was asked about the deference sentencing he said with the bread company executives the shear notoriety and embarrassment was punishment enough where poor people have to be intimidated. somethings never change.

  7. Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 17h17 hours ago

    I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!

  8. ‘No One Is Above the Law.’ John McCain and Others Slam President Trump for Pardoning Joe Arpaio
    Katie Reilly
    11:01 AM ET

    http://time.com/4917014/joe-arpaio-pardon-reaction-john-mccain-jeff-flake/?utm_campaign=time&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&xid=time_socialflow_twitter

  9. Jeff Flake‏Verified account @JeffFlake 18h18 hours ago

    Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.

  10. John McCain‏Verified account
    @SenJohnMcCain

    .@POTUS’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos, undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=3B0E692D-FFEB-4F6C-ADF9-C3F598E94D2A
    7:55 PM – 25 Aug 2017

  11. This is reminiscent of Bush 41 pardoning his Iran Contra accomplices before going to trial to keep them from testifying against him. Or Ford pardoning Nixon for that matter to fulfill an unacknowledged deal.

    Of course this is Deadbeat Donnie Two Scoops Trump defecating all over the rule of law. Which is par for the course with his White House.

  12. Trollin’ Arpaio, so y’all don’t have to…

    Joe Arpaio‏ @RealSheriffJoe 16h16 hours ago

    I also thank my loyal supporters, who stood shoulder to shoulder w/ me in this fight, and throughout my career. For those who are asking . .

    Joe Arpaio‏ @RealSheriffJoe 16h16 hours ago

    I am humbled and incredibly grateful to President Trump. I look fwd to putting this chapter behind me and helping to #MAGA

    Joe Arpaio‏ @RealSheriffJoe 16h16 hours ago

    Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!

  13. Nancy Pelosi‏Verified account @NancyPelosi 16h16 hours ago

    .@POTUS pardon of fellow birther Arpaio makes mockery of rule of law, & says communities of color can be targeted & abused w/ total impunity

  14. Sally Yates‏Verified account @SallyQYates 14h14 hours ago

    With his pardon pen, POTUS reveals his own contempt for our Constitution, our courts, and our founding principles of equality and justice.

  15. Bernie Sanders‏Verified account @BernieSanders 14h14 hours ago

    By pardoning Sheriff Arpaio, President Trump has once again made clear where he stands: on the side of racism and discrimination.

  16. Ben Jealous‏Verified account @BenJealous 16h16 hours ago

    If you are surprised @realDonaldTrump pardoned #Arpaio, consider the fact he still thinks the Central Park 5 are guilty.

  17. I have asked others here, without receiving a response, why all the outrage about Trump issuing a pardon to Arpaio over a misdemeanor charge? There was no similar outrage when Clinton pardoned 10 Puerto Rican NFLA terrorist whose crimes included several felonies, and the knowledge that the NFLA had been involved in several killings. Further, the pardoned NFLA terrorists said they would go back doing what they were doing before. Is it because there is no difference in the crimes? Or is it because it is Trump and Arpaio. Be honest with yourself…what outrages you is who is issuing the pardon. Nothing more, nothing less.

    “…the implication of a “get out of jail free card” pardon from the president should properly be viewed as witness tampering and obstruction of justice.”

    Only in the vivid imagination of leftists like you. Especially because you state clearly a little later:

    “What Trump may not realize is that once a pardon is issued, these witnesses can no longer assert their fifth amendment rights…”

    Do you seriously think that Trump and his legal staff aren’t aware of that? It is laughably funny how you can – where Trump is concerned – go from viewing him as a legal genius to a legal idiot, all within a couple of paragraphs. As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…and sometimes a pardon is just a pardon.

    • You posted that comment about FALN in a reply to my comment at 7:49 AM today, Steve, and I did respond as follows:

      I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton.

      But, correct me if I’m wrong here, but your logic is Trump should not be called out for pardoning Joe Arpaio because Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN.

      Or, perhaps what you are saying is that I cannot say anything about Trump pardoning Arpaio until I rant and rave about what Bill Clinton did on August 11, 1999. Otherwise, I’m a hypocrite.

      Golly gee, Steve, I’m trying hard to make sense of your drivel but I just can’t. I give up.

      But do enjoy your Saturday.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_pardon_controversy#FALN_Commutation_of_1999

      • “… but your logic is Trump should not be called out for pardoning Joe Arpaio because Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN.”

        No it’s nt, Liza. My point was that the amount of hysteria created on the left was disproportionate given the weight of the offense. That’s all.

        “Again, no. What is done is done. What I am saying is that the left has no problem with the pardoning of terrorists if the right party member pardons them. It isn’t the pardon that matters, it is the political point to be made that matters to them.

        “Golly gee, Steve, I’m trying hard to make sense of your drivel but I just can’t. I give up.”

        It is a willful misunderstanding because you are smarter than that. But it is a challenge so…

        • Time to brush up….

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

          Other than that, I got nothing.

          Feel free to have the last word.

        • It’s not the weight of the offense Arpaio was convicted of, it’s the short-circuiting of the pardon process. Here we have a convicted felon who has been preemptively pardoned despite his bragging about flouting the law, then pleaded ignorance of the law when called to account for his actions, and has shown absolutely no remorse for his criminal activities. Activities which, by the way. caused untold damage to Maricopa County citizens. And he hasn’t even been sentenced yet!

          Pardon recipients are usually required to serve part of their sentences (at least five years), file required stages of the pardon paperwork, and show contrition/remorse for their crimes. The pardoning process itself can take years.

          None of which happened here. Your boy Trump jumped America’s Worst Sheriff to the head of the line in order to please his White Supremacist base.

          (Oh, and there’s no need to go through your italics rigamarole. The other commenters here are smart enough to see the arguments to which you’re responding.)

          • “Pardon recipients are usually required to serve part of their sentences (at least five years), file required stages of the pardon paperwork, and show contrition/remorse for their crimes. The pardoning process itself can take years.”

            That is the generally accepted procedure for a regular pardon from prison. That is not the case with Presidential Pardons.

            “Your boy Trump jumped America’s Worst Sheriff to the head of the line in order to please his White Supremacist base.”

            That is a new theory on these pages. How did you make such a dramatic leap of logic? At first glance the two don’t seem to go together.

            “(Oh, and there’s no need to go through your italics rigamarole. The other commenters here are smart enough to see the arguments to which you’re responding.)”

            Why assume that when I can make certain they do. Further it make certain that the person I am responding knows what part of thier missive I am responding to. So I think I will keep my “italics rigamarole”. But thank you for your kind suggestion…

          • If you’re going to proclaim that’s not the case for presidential pardons you should show the presidential pardon criteria. Just like school – show your work.

            As far as the rest of your naive nonsense goes, obviously you’re still proud of being an Ostrich American.

          • “If you’re going to proclaim that’s not the case for presidential pardons you should show the presidential pardon criteria. Just like school – show your work.”

            Gosh, Wileybud, I missed the memo wherein you were appointed the rule maker for this blog. Sorry about that. I just assumed with all the bluster and bravado you display that you would already know the process and would not need it explained to you.

            “As far as the rest of your naive nonsense goes, obviously you’re still proud of being an Ostrich American.”

            I understand, Wileybud. Being forced to confront the truth can be painful for you. Pretending to be bored and dismissive is a fairly effective way to deflect that discomfort while pretending to be above the fray.

          • Sifle your sniveling Steve, it’s very unbecoming.

          • Stifle your sniveling Steve, it’s very unbecoming.

    • And if Joe Arpaio served 19 years (like the 16 members of FALN) and received a commutation of his sentence, I for one would be totally okay with it.

      Have a seat, Steve.

      Have a stadium full of seats.

  18. For Sure Not Tom

    Publicity stunt by realty TV show actor to boost failing ratings.

    Penzone is still sheriff.

    Joe is a loser.

    This basically just two old lying birthers strokin’ each other.

    • “Publicity stunt by realty TV show actor to boost failing ratings.”

      Wait a minute! I thought Trump released this late on Friday so it would miss a big news cycle. Or is it a publicity stunt? It seems that if it were a publicity stunt Trump would choose a better new cycle.

      “Penzone is still sheriff.”

      And a perfectly adequate job he is doing, too!

      “Joe is a loser.”

      I would say he came out on the winning end of this. And I suspect that, like a former Governor or Senator, he will always be known as “Sheriff Joe”. That must hurt…

      “This basically just two old lying birthers strokin’ each other.”

      Or…two friends making sure justice is done.

  19. Here’s what the American Bar Association (largest attorney group) says:
    The crime that Arpaio was convicted of committing — criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order – showed a blatant disregard for the authority of the judiciary. As a law enforcement officer who took an oath to uphold the law and respect the courts, he instead chose to substitute his own interpretation of justice.

    • Yeah, and the despicable 300 pound pile of pig vomit that is pretending to be our president just told the nation he will do as he pleases, the country be damned.