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25 Dems ask federal appeals court to invalidate Trump pardon of Arpaio

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A group of 25 Democratic lawmakers are calling on a federal appeals court in California to invalidate President Trump’s pardon of Arizona’s controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

The lawmakers, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), filed the brief last week, arguing that the presidential pardon “is an encroachment by the Executive on the independence of the Judiciary.”

{mosads}Trump in August 2017 made the controversial decision to pardon Arpaio, who had had been previously found guilty of racially profiling Latinos after a Justice Department investigation. He was also convicted of criminal contempt for disobeying a federal judge’s order related to detaining people suspected of being in the United States illegally. 

Trump said while offering Arpaio a pardon that the former sheriff kept “Arizona safe.”

The brief, which was authored by former Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), argues that the power of the courts to punish contempt is “essential to the independence of the judiciary.” It also likens the court’s ability to hold someone in contempt to that of Congress’s. 

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is currently evaluating a lower court decision to not vacate the contempt conviction, according to Roll Call

“We have probably not heard the last of the potential for corrupt abuse of presidential pardons,” Miller said in a statement. “The old court decisions said the idea that the president might promise pardons to subordinates who violate the law at his direction was too unlikely to consider.”

The brief’s filing comes as Democratic lawmakers threaten to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt if he fails to release special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report. 

The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a markup for that contempt citation for Wednesday.  

 

Tags Donald Trump Eric Swalwell Jerrold Nadler Robert Mueller William Barr
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