Trump Exploits Harvey Victims in Stealth Pardon of Arpaio

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Eminent climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State noticed not one but two horrible things about Friday evening.

The second one was that Trump dropped a load of shady announcements while eyes and cameras were on the Texas coast:

That’s right, instead of hunkering down with an emergency response team or consulting FEMA as category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Trump’s mind was on voiding the criminal contempt of court verdict against former sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.

Even if the timing had not made the move gauche, it was objectionable on a large number of grounds.

First, the criminal contempt of court sentence was issued by the judiciary, and Trump voided it even though Arpaio had not been sentenced or served any time. Many observers saw this high-handed intervention not as a pardon so much as it was a blatant shredding of the separation of powers.

Second, Arpaio is charged with a whole series of serious offenses. Although he is no longer sheriff, his legacy is a dangerous one and you would not want to see other sheriffs encouraged that they could get away with this behavior.

The Phoenix New Times newspaper has been reporting on Arpaio for years, and its editors recalled his many alleged crimes.

Arpaio illegally and routinely engaged in profiling Arizona Latinos, arresting them for existing while Latin.

For instance, he rounded up people and put them in a tent city that Arpaio himself admitted was a “concentration camp.”

Or, there was that suspiciously high rate of “suicides” among the prisoners in his jail, far more than in any similar institution.

Arpaio even wrongly arrested the reporters the newspaper sent to cover him, and the county had to pay the newspaper’s owners nearly $4 million in damages for false arrest.

Even after having been found guilty of profiling Latinos, he went on doing it. That behavior resulted in his being found guilty of criminal contempt of court.

And that was when Trump cavalierly wished the people of Texas “good luck” and turned his attention to pardoning Arpaio.

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Related video:

Donald Trump Sends Message To Robert Mueller Targets With Joe Arpaio Pardon | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

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19 Responses

  1. Arpaio was invited over here to the UK some years ago to give us the benefit of his keen mind during one of our periodic flaps about law and order. It took about 30 seconds of listening to him on the radio to realise he was basically a sadist who’d landed his dream job, running a concentration camp.

  2. Trump is such a devious man. It is utterly disgusting that he pardoned a man like Arpaio, circumventing the judicial system in our country, and taking advantage of a terrible natural disaster. It is unfortunate that Trump keeps siding with racists, Russian spies, tyrants, and other low lives from the swamp. To think HE called Hillary crooked.

  3. It’s far worse than you say, it’s a renunciation of the rule of law by the leader of the USA.

    Either he is removed, or the USA won’t be a republic a year from now.

  4. Hopefully there’s enough dirt on
    Arpaio to charge him on state felony or civil charges that would be out of reach of a future pardon. I am tired of sadistic, criminal LEO’s getting off scott-free: they need to be held to a tighter standard of behavior; not jungle standards. I am also hopeful Mueller has pardon-avoidance strategies in mind as he moves closer to indicting Trump and his Trump’s many accessories in the Russia/money laundering/treason investigation.

  5. Is Donald jealous of Harvey? A case of megalomaniacal hurricane envy? And wanting to “Trump” the hurricane did a dump on our country, a storm surge of horse•••• and hate.

    Pardoning fellow hyper-birther and convicted FELON, voted out-of-office Hispanic-hating Joe Arpaio is merely another one of Trump’s Muscovite golden showers on our country.

  6. The effect of Trump’s presidency on the balance of global authority is interesting. It is realigning a whole number of international relationships that have remained largely unchanged since WWII . This is not a bad thing, in fact it could bode well for many of the serious problems our race and planet face, His behaviour and general demeanor together with the uninhibited media and social response are provoking make it unlikely any future US President will be able to turn the clock back. Other countries will simply have seen too much. It may not justify it to the liberal minded but one can see why some leaders muzzle their media.

    • You keep saying that things will get better thanks to Trump, and they keep getting worse.

      America is not uniquely evil and its downfall will merely redistribute evil to a host of other players who have been held back.

      • I don’t believe the US is evil. I believe its stranglehold on Europe and its confrontational approach to the rest of the world is unhelpful to put it mildly. To the extent that Trump’s exercise of his office encourages others to question their automatic adherence to the US view of the world, opportunities arise for a more cooperative approach to the formidable problems ahead. What happens within the US is its own business

        • Oh, it is all right to be frank. You believe the US is evil. And you let the other Powers off the hook. Putin’s hold on Germany via natural gas or neo-colonialism in Ukraine doesn’t bother you in the least.

          You will find Trump inconsistent on US hegemony. His demand that European allies spend 2% of GDP on military is to make them better cannon fodder in US-initiated wars like Afghanistan.

        • Let’s be fair, it was the guy above who implied the US is evil by insisting that it is not uniquely so. I simply wrote that I don’t believe it. Nations being evil is not a concept I entertain, in fact ‘evil’ is not a word I would employ outside some demonic context. It is true that I think a more coherent relationship between Europeans and Russians would benefit both, and piping Russian gas better by far than fracking fragile American surfaces at incalculable environmental cost to ship it across the Atlantic. But then, we live in a world where South African oranges are sold here in Southern Spain as is Californian celery, a water demanding crop of minimal nutritional value.

        • There’s enough in the way of greed, evil, and stupidity to go around.

          To the extent Trump inadverdently inspires countries like Germany out of their complacency, for lack of a better word, maybe some lemonade will come from this lemon.

      • I don’t think we are looking at the downfall of the US. I think we are looking at the end of the brief period of total domination by one hyperpower as other lesser powers reach the point where they can, individually or collectively, balance the power of the former hyperpower.

        • It won’t be balance. It will be every petty tyrant for himself, and all our leaders will be petty tyrants. With nukes.

    • “this is not a bad thing” . . .

      unless (at least domestically) you are of African-American descent, or Hispanic, or a woman, or need health care, or are an academic, or you are a journalist, or you are LGBTQ, or you care about the environment.

      “could bode well for many of the serious problems etc.”

      No. The stability that we have enjoyed in much of the world these past 70 years is atypical – and frankly necessary given the destructive capabilities of modern weaponry. The global order is far from perfect, but like Rome, beats the alternative.

      I am about to teach my Greek history course as I do every fall. I will teach about the civilizational collapse that occurred ca. 1180 BC – you do not want to be around for that sort of thing.
      I teach the same thing in my Roman history course – you do not want to be around in a post-Roman world. It’s not pretty.

      My prediction: Trump is a sadist who has a zero sum mentality. As Americans reject him increasingly he will try to inflict maximum damage and pain on the country. He will literally try to pull the walls down around the country’s ears, because for him winning is about nothing if not domination.

      And in Caligula aL’Orange’s view, that means visibly making his opponent – i.e. the American people – suffer tangible pain and loss. Trump is NOT an individual. He is an archetype one can know everything about by perusing the pages of Plato, Tacitus, and, frankly, William Shirer.

      If destruction of our 240+ year old experiment in operating a democratic republic and 70 years of relative stability is what you are after, he’s obviously your man. But that game is played at extreme peril.

      • Wibberley has made it clear, like a certain segment of the anti-war Left in America, that all people of color who support the Democratic Party and Big Government in general deserve to be punished for the crimes of liberalism. How dare those people not embrace a return to the decentralized America of the 19th century only strong enough to persecute non-Whites within our border, not beyond. They don’t give a fuck if Trump puts them all in concentration camps as long as the Left is purified of the evil stain of FDR and LBJ, the desire for guns and butter. That will leave a Left that consists entirely of White “radical” academics and activists who will pontificate and chide as uselessly as the handful of White liberals who still had some rights remaining in the Jim Crow South. Thank God, being relieved of all responsibility of actually having to govern at home or exercise power abroad ever again. That’s what they really want.

  7. Maybe this will enable the media to drop coverage of four star Marine general Kelly. No disrespect for the general, but I’m sure it is easier to get a few hundred thousand Marines to do his bidding, than to influence a DNA verified zombie, who will probably ask him to find a job for his buddy, the sheriff, at ICE.

    • Just when you thought the Trump had reached the depth of his creativity in inappropriate behaviour, there you go giving the guy ideas….

      I can see him now, Leaning on Kelly as he did Comey. “Hey, he’s a good guy…”

  8. It is doubtful Harvey was even on Trump’s mind on Friday. its not like he cares about people unrelated to him or gracing him with praise.

    His “pardoning” of Arpaio was simply saying if you’re a friend of mine, you don’t do time. Your convictions will be “pardoned”. Next step will include massive contributors to Trump’s campaigns and businesses. We have seen the start of the selling of American justice. We’ve always known there was one law for the rich and one for the poor, now its been extended to one law for friends of the president and another for every one else.

    Trump was not kidding when he said he could shoot some one in New York, etc. Once elected he could pardon himself. This places the American justice system squarely with countries where people can murder others and get away with it because there is no real law. The law is what the president says it is.

    What might be fun is if Arpaio were arrested for crimes against humanity and taken to the Hague for trial. It might be about time Americans understood the Hague courts are there for all citizens of the world, not just those in 2nd and 3rd world countries.

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