Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Along with Trump, Arpaio also promoted the debunked conspiracy theory that former President Obama was born in Kenya.
By Harry Marcolis | Aug 30, 2017
In his first act of presidential clemency, President Trump pardoned former Arizona county sheriff Joe Apaio Friday an act that will serve only to increase criticism of the president's apparent endorsement of racist views and raise more questions about whether Trump respects the rule of law.

Arpaio, who served for 24 years as sheriff of Maricopa County but was defeated in last year's election, was convicted of federal misdemeanor criminal contempt for refusing to obey a court order to stop illegally targeting people suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

Along with Trump, Arpaio also promoted the debunked conspiracy theory that former President Obama was born in Kenya.

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon," said the White House, in a statement, as reported by Bloomberg.

Although Justice Department policy states that all requests for executive pardons "are directed to the Pardon Attorney for investigation and review," Trump failed to do so in the case of Joe Arpaio. According to department guidelines, requests for federal clemency should not be made until five years after a conviction or completion of a sentence.

Nevertheless, a president can grant a pardon to anyone at anytime after an offense has been committed, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Democrats and civil rights groups condemned the pardon as did Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, who said, "doing so at this time undermines [Trump's] claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions."

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