House Dems call for hearing on Trump's Arpaio pardon

House Dems call for hearing on Trump's Arpaio pardon
© Getty Images
House Democrats are pushing for Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFive things to know about Bruce Ohr, the DOJ official under fire from Trump Republicans become entangled by family feuds over politics House GOP prepares to grill DOJ official linked to Steele dossier MORE (R-Va.) to call an oversight hearing of President Trump's controversial pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
 
In a letter signed by ranking member Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and 16 other members, Democrats argued that "although the President has wide constitutional authority to issue pardons, there is also ample precedent for our Committee to review pardons as controversial as this one."
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Trump issued the pardon late last Friday as Hurricane Harvey moved toward the Texas Gulf Coast. Democrats slammed Trump for announcing the pardon as a then-Category 4 storm approached the U.S.
 
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt earlier this year for ignoring a judicial order that required him to end the practice of detaining racially profiled individuals for presumed immigration violations.
 
The former Arizona sheriff was set for sentencing on Oct. 5 and was facing a maximum penalty of six months in jail. Democrats and civil rights organizations slammed Trump's pardon of the former law enforcement official, calling Arpaio's policing policies racist.
 
"The pardon sends an unequivocal message that institutionalized racial profiling as practiced by Sheriff Arpaio is acceptable," House Democrats wrote in their letter this week.
 
"The pardon is disrespectful to the rule of law in general and to the federal courts in particular; and the President issued the pardon in complete absence of any advisory role by the Department of Justice," they added.
 
Lawmakers noted that Trump issued the pardon through the White House, rather than the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Department of Justice.
 
"As you [Goodlatte] have argued, the Pardon Attorney is designed to 'dissuade' presidents from simply making pardons at will," it reads.
 
The letter's co-signers argued that Trump's move could signal an effort to try to use the pardon power to derail the probe into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia during last year's election.
 
"President Trump may soon be tempted to issue pardons that stem from matters under investigation by Special Counsel Bob Mueller," the lawmakers said.
 
 
The co-signers were also critical of Goodlatte's lack of oversight hearings since Trump took office in January.
 
"We note that this letter represents the fifth time we have written to ask you to conduct oversight of the Trump Administration," the letter states.
 
"If we do not examine this use of pardon power, we fear that the Committee will be seen by our constituents — and by future generations — as also having endorsed the Sheriff's conduct."