Trump Responds to Controversial Arpaio Pardon

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She added, "Even if he was tongue in cheek, which I don't think he was, the notion that the president of the United States announced something because ratings were high, where people were fleeing their homes, under water, and some people losing their lives, is abhorrent".

"So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe and the people of Arizona, who really know him best, would agree with me", Trump said.

"He's done a great job for the people of Arizona", Trump told reporters.

Sheriff Urquhart tweeted on August 25 expressing disapproval of President Trump's pardon of Arpaio, stating: "Sheriff Joe violated the Constitution".

Arpaio said he had not spoken to Trump in the weeks leading up to the pardon, and he hasn't spoken to him since the White House's announcement on Friday night.

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for illegally profiling Hispanic immigrants. The sheriff also dedicated resources to investigating whether Barack Obama was actually born outside the country, and later held a press conference claiming that Obama's birth certificate showed signs of forgery, USA Today noted.

"President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who leaked countless sensitive and classified documents to Wikileaks, perhaps, and others, but frightful, awful thing that he did", Trump said. Arpaio had yet to be sentenced when Trump pardoned him.

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Trump also retweeted a Fox News pundit who falsely claimed Obama "pardoned a traitor who gave USA enemies state secrets".

"I appreciate what the president did", Arpaio told The Associated Press as he celebrated the news over an Italian restaurant meal and someone in his party ordered champagne. "I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly".

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has recently sparked backlash from Trump, also criticized Trump.

Trump read through a list of pardons made by presidents Clinton and Obama, including Marc Rich and Chelsea Manning.

The real question is not the sparing of one obnoxious, lawless octogenarian, but who will be next in line for a presidential pardon and under what circumstances?

Flake, who has been on the receiving end of Trump's wrath in tweets and speeches, is already facing a Republican nomination challenge from another conservative Arizonan. The Justice Department's civil rights division issued a scathing investigative report in 2011 on Arpaio's policing practices and that of his department.

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