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Christie: I would not have pardoned Arpaio

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Wednesday he would not have pardoned Joe Arpaio, the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz.

During an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Christie called the pardon power an "extraordinary power" for any executive.

"My understanding has always been that one of the prerequisites you look for in giving a pardon is contrition for what you were convicted of," he said.

"I didn't see that in Sheriff Arpaio."

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When pressed on whether he would have pardoned Arpaio, Christie said: "This is not one that I would have done."

"The fact is, when you're a president or governor, you have the absolute right to do this," he said.

"This is not one that I would do because of the person not seeming contrite for what he was convicted of," the onetime presidential candidate said.

Christie said the power to pardon needs to be used sparingly. He added that President Trump "absolutely believes that Arpaio was wrongfully convicted."

"And believes that he's doing something that was right and just," Christie said.

Trump last week pardoned Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for disobeying a federal judge's order on detaining individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

The White House in a statement last week emphasized Arpaio's service to the nation and said he was a "worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon."