This is Bad – Now Trump’s DOJ Wants Arpaio Conviction Erased

Although disgraced Arizona former sheriff Joe Arpaio was gifted a with a questionable and completely unwarranted pardon from the crook in the White House, it still isn’t enough to satisfy any of the racists in Trump’s administration. The sad truth is that Trump pardoning Arpaio prematurely signaled that the rule of law took another blow from dirty Don. Now Trump’s racist attorney general is wading in to completely erase Arpaio’s conviction in a blow to a federal Judge, the rule of law and the judicial system.

It was announced yesterday (Monday) that since Trump’s good friend Joe Arpaio demands his conviction on criminal contempt of court be dismissed, Trump’s Justice Department duly filed an amicus brief telling a federal Judge to “give Sheriff Joe” what he wants. Obviously the DOJ didn’t put it in quite those words, but they did, however, reiterate Arpaio’s claim that a pardon from Trump means he was never found guilty and never convicted; Arpaio wants his name cleared of any wrongdoing and Trump’s DOJ agrees. This is a really bad sign going forward.

Shortly after Trump pardoned Arpaio, the former sheriff told the federal Judge he wants the conviction “tossed” as if nothing ever happened and he wasn’t in contempt of court for over five years. Trump’s DOJ filed an amicus brief with the federal court agreeing with Arpaio that he should be declared innocent.

The disgraced Arpaio’s lawyers have argued that even though he will never face justice or be sentenced, the poor former sheriff  has no legal path to be declared innocent. According to Arpaio, that questionable pardon renders his case “resolved” in the eyes of the law, so his conviction must be thrown out and his “good name” cleared of any wrongdoing. He says that presidential pardon “nullifies the guilty verdict in the case.

Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton canceled an October 5th sentencing date after the ill-advised pardon and set an October 4th date for both prosecutors and defense lawyers to file briefs on why she should, or should not, do what Arpaio demands and pretend he never broke the law.

Although the DOJ has no business wading into the case, they are acutely interested in seeing that Arpaio gets his criminal record wiped clean; it is a slap in the face to a Federal Judge from Trump’s Department of Justice. The DOJ brief states:

A pardon issued before entry of final judgment moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that result from the guilty verdict. Accordingly, the [Trump] government agrees [with Arpaio] that the Court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot.”

It is as if nothing ever happened. And as if Arpaio’s flagrant flouting the law, and disregarding the constitutionality of a federal court’s authority, is now legal in Trump’s America; but only if the convicted criminal is an anti-immigrant racist and close Trump ally and supporter.

That pardon has elicited legal challenges and there should be a robust stand against Trump’s actions; if for no other reason than Trump failed to follow his own Department of Justice’s protocol and rules for granting a “presidential pardon.” Of course those rules and procedures are not the grounds an activist group, Protect Democracy, is claiming to “thwart Trump’s violations of legal norms,” but it is a path they may want to investigate.

The group of lawyers sent a letter to Raymond N. Hulser and John Dixon Keller of the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department, arguing that the pardon goes beyond constitutional limits. In their letter to the DOJ, the Protect Democracy lawyers claim Trump cannot “obviate the court’s powers to enforce its orders when the constitutional rights of others are at stake.” They added:

The president [Trump] can’t use the pardon power to immunize lawless officials from consequences for violating people’s constitutional rights. After repeatedly belittling and undermining judges verbally and on Twitter, now President Trump is escalating his attack on the courts into concrete actions. His pardon and celebration of Joe Arpaio for ignoring a [federal] judicial order is a threat to our democracy and every citizen’s rights, and should not be allowed to stand.”

There is another little matter that should be addressed and it is Trump’s blatant disregard for the long-established process of gaining a presidential pardon; Trump violated each and every one of them.

Just a sampling of the procedures Trump ignored was the requirement that the convicted party files a petition with the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Department of Justice. According to the DOJ website, Arpaio is required to complete a pardon petition that “must be completed fully and accurately and notarized in order to be considered.” That process, like the U.S. Constitution means nothing to Trump.

The DOJ instructs all petitioners that a presidential pardon:

Is ordinarily a sign of forgiveness and is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or release from confinement. A pardon is not a sign of vindication and does not connote or establish innocence. For that reason, when considering the merits of a pardon petition, pardon officials take into account the petitioner’s acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement for the offense. (Author bold)

Obviously, Arpaio continues claiming, like his racist hero Trump, that he did nothing wrong because he is “above the law” and was “just doing his job” in violating a federal court order for over five years. And he just said yesterday it was a “job” he would never stop doing or apologize for. In fact, he made the same claim in 2011 when the Court ordered him to cease and desist and he has reiterated that claim without pause as he continued violating the federal court’s order.  In fact, in the court’s guilty finding in July the Judge noted that:

The Defendant broadcast to the world and to his subordinates that he would and they should continue ‘what he had always been doing.’”

Arpaio, like Trump, believes he is exempt from following court orders like every other American citizen has to on pain of a conviction for “criminal contempt of court;” which is what Arpaio was found guilty of.

It is also noteworthy that Arpaio never “accepted responsibility for the crime” he certainly committed or established good conduct for a significant period of time “after conviction.” Because in violating the DOJ’s own rules, Trump just pardoned Arpaio barely three weeks after he was found guilty and convicted of a federal crime. Trump was so eager to sate his alt-right Nazis lust for “justice” for a fellow racist, that he didn’t wait for Arpaio to be sentenced and now he wants the conviction and guilty finding erased; to clear “former” sheriff Joe’s good name.

There are rumors that Arpaio is going to challenge one of Trump’s Republican “enemies,” Jeff Flake, for his Arizona Senate seat and he needs his criminal record wiped clean. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Trump is using the federal government agency to aid his racist ally’s electoral chances; Trump’s DOJ stepping in to pressure a federal court fits with any number of dirty tricks Trump will use to game the system.

It was bad enough that Trump pardoned Arpaio without going through the proper pardon process, but the DOJ butting in to pressure a federal Judge portends the “official” end of the rule of law in America.

It is not a stretch to imagine that Trump will issue a blanket pardon for all of his co-conspirators even before they face charges, particularly after he announced publicly that he “has complete pardon power;” a signal to his corrupt players that no matter what crimes they committed, they will never face justice. This should concern every American because there is every indication that no-one in Trump’s corrupt administration will ever face justice; including the dirty crook in the Oval Office.

Trump’s DOJ To Target Discrimination Against Whites

 

Most Americans with a basic sense of awareness were concerned that with Trump in the White House, an alt-right Nazi as his senior adviser, and an acknowledged bigot as his attorney general, attacks on Americans’ civil rights were never going to be addressed. Of course that concern was well-founded as the Department of Justice’s civil rights division has gone fully alt-religious right and gave voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and police reforms nothing but animus according to Jeff Sessions’ worldview with Trump’s blessings.

Believe it or not, there was news yesterday that at first blush gave the appearance that the white supremacist running the DOJ was going to attend to civil rights and discrimination as he should be doing as a matter of course. It is true that the Trump DOJ is going to devote significant resources towards investigating civil rights violations involving discrimination, but the Sessions DOJ isn’t concerned about bias against people of color, women, gays, or the non-religious. The Trump-Sessions DOJ is hewing closely to the demands of the alt-right white supremacists and will target discrimination against whites. The racist effort will identify, investigate and start filing federal lawsuits against American colleges and universities for discriminating against white people.

According to an internal document obtained by the New York Times, the DOJ’s civil rights division is seeking “current lawyers interested in working for a ‘new project’” that will be run by Trump’s political appointees instead of the Education Opportunities Section.

Sessions doesn’t want career civil servants with expertise in “racial discrimination” in schools and universities involved because they will not focus on how badly the equal opportunities laws are “intentionally discriminating against white people.” Keeping the “new project” away from the DOJ’s civil rights division and directly under Sessions’ watchful eye will assure Trump’s alt-right acolytes that his campaign pledge to “make America white again” reaches fruition.

In case anyone wonders whether or not the Trump DOJ is really going to pursue so-called discrimination against the poor beleaguered white race, a former Reagan and first Bush administration official, Roger Clegg, hailed the “new project” as “welcomed and long overdue.” Clegg is the current president of the conservative (read white) Center for Equal Opportunity and he claims since the United States is becoming “increasingly multiracial,” its obvious that only whites are being discriminated against. Clegg said:

The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that only whites are discriminated against now.”

The president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke, criticized the Department of Justice’s attack on affirmative action she said is “misaligned with the division’s longstanding priorities.” She reminded Americans that the civil rights division was only “created and launched to deal with the unique problem of discrimination faced by our nation’s most oppressed minority groups, by performing work that often no one else has the resources or expertise to do.” Ms. Clarke continued:

This is deeply disturbing. It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”

Of course it is disturbing and of course it is a dog whistle for racists and white supremacist groups – that is the Trump administration’s purpose.

It is also intended to intimidate colleges and universities because there is no doubt with Trump in the White House and racist Sessions running the DOJ, the alt-right sycophants will use the full weight and power of the federal government to end diversity on college campuses with a long term goal of ending diversity everywhere.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court just ruled last year on an “affirmative action” admissions policy case involving the University of Texas at Austin and upheld the institution’s “race-conscious program.” Undeterred, racist groups have several other lawsuits in the works claiming discrimination against whites at “high profile” institutions such as Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Those lawsuits are going forward despite that last year’s Supreme Court ruling upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action.

The current president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the civil rights division during the Obama Administration’s second term, Vanita Gupta, said that it is a bad sign that this federal government attack on affirmative action is going to be run “directly by Trump’s political appointees.” Ms. Gupta said:

The fact that the position is in the political front office, and not in the career section that enforces anti-discrimination laws for education, suggests that this person will be carrying out an agenda aimed at undermining diversity in higher education without needing to say it.”

Of course no-one has to say this is a blatant attack on diversity in higher education or anywhere else in the nation. There is an acclaimed anti-civil and equal rights crusader running the Justice Department, and a white supremacist alt-right administration running the executive branch of the government; both have made no secret of their intent to attack racial or cultural diversity under the guise of “ending political correctness.

Any idiot American who didn’t believe that the Trump administration is racist should have a clue they were indeed idiots. All Americans should understand that the Department of Justice under an anti-civil rights fanatic like Sessions will put a quick end to any and every law, regulation or Constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights for all Americans.

If there was any doubt that America is being run by rabid white supremacists whether they call themselves the alt-right, religious right, neo-Nazis or white power advocates, this latest atrocity should dispel those doubts immediately.

America Is In a Constitutional Crisis And Its Democracy Is In Jeopardy

 

If Americans are paying attention, and they certainly should be, to the state of their government it is jarringly apparent that in Trump’s administration the criminals are running the justice system. It only makes sense because a pack of criminals are running the White House and there is every reason to believe a fair number of criminals are running both houses of Congress. No matter how one appraises the current and rapidly developing decline of American democracy, Trump is responsible for throwing the nation into a constructional crisis.

Were that not the case, that America’s government is compromised on various accounts, Trump would not have terminated Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey to stop the investigation into the Trump-Russian attack on America’s democracy. As noted in a New York Times opinion piece:

It’s now clear that Trump’s Justice Department has no independence. Both Sessions, and Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, are acting like Trump enforcers. And now the F.B.I. is compromised [or is going to be compromised] as well.”

A conservative columnist at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, explained why Trump firing Mr. Comey is not only a reason for a very robust and thorough independent investigation, but why Trump can be impeached. Ms. Rubin wrote:

Using one law enforcement body (or set of individuals) to stop another from investigating presidential wrongdoing was the nub of Watergate and the ensuing impeachment proceedings. We do not know whether that is what is at issue here, but Congress has no alternative but to determine why the president acted and why he acted now. That should entail questioning under oath of any persons aware of or involved in the firing process and ultimately an accounting by the president of his own actions.”

It is important to recall that Trump praised Comey just prior to the election and has kept him at his post without issue for nearly four months since his inauguration. According to several reports, what appeared to set Trump off first was Comey’s Senate testimony that he was “mildly nauseous” at the thought of swaying the election to Trump. There are also plenty of credible reports that Mr. Comey was fired for requesting more funding from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to more effectively conduct the investigation into collusion between the Trump cabal and Russia.

It is noteworthy that Rosenstein is in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation at the DOJ because Jeff Sessions was “pressured” to recuse himself over his own undisclosed contact with the Russians during Trump’s campaign; a fact he lied about under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. That act of perjury is the reason he should be prosecuted and sent to federal prison for five years instead of colluding with Trump to stop the FBI’s investigation.

The question, then, is why did Sessions as Attorney General appeal to Trump to fire Comey for investigating Russian collusion when he is out of the loop on Russian grounds? The White House public statement announcing Comey’s termination plainly puts Sessions in the center of the criminal endeavor. It said, in part:

President Trump acted on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Any sane person can’t possibly believe that Comey’s termination had anything whatsoever to do with the FBI’s handling of the bogus Clinton email affair. One cannot possibly believe it was anything other than Trump’s despotic attempt to put a criminal conspirator in charge of the FBI’s investigation who will join the thugs in the Justice Department, obey Trump’s dictates, and halt the investigation.

As no small number of pundits and commenters have opined, Trump’s action is “a premeditated and terrifying attack on the American system of government” and “ushers in a constitutional crisis.”

Here’s the thing, Trump, Sessions and Rosenstein can claim whatever lie they think the public will believe, but their claims are still lies. Yes, it’s true Americans can be incredibly dense and painfully so, but no-one is as stupid as Trump believes they are. Remember, as late as Monday, Trump took to his press outlet, Twitter, to call for the end of the FBI’s investigation into his administrations collusion with Russia. Trump tweeted:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Within a day, Trump did what a criminal tyrant would do and attempted to put an end to the Trump-Russia collusion story unilaterally, with a little aid from the criminals leading the DOJ. Mr. Comey’s firing was not about emails, or that he wasn’t doing his job. He was terminated because he was doing his job without Trump’s direction and wanted to go deeper; that likely sealed his fate and prompted Trump to do what a tyrannical dictator would do – fire the man investigating him.

Trump was already livid that Comey publicly humiliated him when he summarily dismissed Trump’s paranoid claim that President Obama wire tapped him as “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.” Then Trump seethed that Comey told the Senate he “mildly” felt like throwing up at the idea his actions swayed the general election results. But what likely frightened the life out of Trump was Comey’s request for more funding for the Trump-Russia collusion investigation; a request that certainly means the investigation is not only widening but producing an abundance of evidence.

Now that it looks like Trump will find a sympathetic sycophant to do his bidding at the FBI and deliver the predetermined outcome Trump wants and close the investigation, Congress’ duty to democracy is to reassure the people that Trump is not above the law. That necessitates a robust independent investigation “completely free of Trump’s oversight” and without interference from Trump’s criminal conspirators at the Department of Justice. America’s democracy is in jeopardy and it is in a constitutional crisis, and save a few brave members of Congress it is increasingly apparent that Republicans have little interest in saving the Union from their hero in the White House or themselves.