Trump asked Sessions to drop charges against Arpaio months ago: report


President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions about closing the criminal case against former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio months ago, The Washington Post reports.

According to the report, Trump was told it would be inappropriate to move ahead with such an action, and decided to let the trial take its course. 

The president reportedly decided at the time that if Arpaio was convicted, he would grant him clemency. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the report, telling the Post, “It’s only natural the president would have a discussion with administration lawyers about legal matters. This case would be no different.”

Arpaio had been found guilty in a Justice Department investigation of racially profiling Latinos. He was convicted July 31 of criminal contempt for disobeying a federal judge’s order on detaining individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

The report comes one day after the White House announced Trump would pardon Arpaio. 

“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement stressing Arpaio’s public service.

“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,” the statement added.

The pardon was issued without consulting Justice Department officials. 

Trump later shared the news on Twitter, writing of Arpaio, “He kept Arizona safe!”

The president and the controversial sheriff had bonded over their shared, unsubstantiated theory that former President Obama was not born in the U.S. 
Arpaio endorsed Trump in January of 2016, saying Everything I believe in he’s doing and he’s going to do it when he becomes president.”
“This is a man when we talk about borders, this is a man that believes in borders and getting his endorsement means a lot to me,” Trump said returning Arpaio’s praise. 

Updated 7:22 p.m.

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