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 Incompetent Big Mouth Put An Israeli Agent’s Life At Risk

 

 

Employers typically avoid hiring an employee that is incompetent because they have the foresight to go through a careful vetting process most employees are unaware of. Incompetence, like ignorance, can kill a business depending on the nature of services or products they offer, but when a customer’s safety is put at risk due to incompetence, any competent business owner will terminate a careless employee if for no other reason than avoiding lawsuits. It may not seem to be the case, but there are more professions and jobs that can have an adverse effect on citizens’ health and lives than one might think.

Of course an incompetent mechanic who forgets to tighten a wheel’s lug nuts or connect a brake line could be liable for material damages and physical injuries in a car crash when the brakes failed or the wheels fell off. It is a similar situation when a medical professional’s incompetence leads to an unnecessary death whether that death is from a sloppy surgeon or careless nurse administering the wrong medicine. In those cases there are laws and the judicial system to hold the incompetent professional accountable. There is no such thing for a president when Republicans control all three branches of government and it is why Trump will get away with endangering the life of a close ally’s agent.

As a few people have noted, when incompetent and ignorant Trump shared Israel’s highly classified intelligence with Trump’s close friends in the Kremlin, he put at great risk the Israeli operative who infiltrated ISIS and provided the intelligence Trump may as well have made public. ABC News reported that according to several current and former American officials, when Trump disclosed classified information to the Russians, “he put the life of a spy placed by Israel inside ISIS at risk.”

It is irrelevant what the Trump told the Russian officials last week, even if it was because he is compromised and indebted to Vladimir Putin to divulge U.S intelligence secrets. What matters is that he threw America’s closest ally in the Middle East under the bus and threw one of their operatives to the hungry lions in ISIS. Perhaps the next time American intelligence officials warn Israel, or any of our allies, to be particularly careful about sharing information with the new administration for fear of exactly what happened, they will pay closer attention. Intel officials in the Obama Administration did warn the Israelis and now one of their spies is likely compromised.

However, it is not that the Israelis failed to take what they surmised were the necessary precautions in telling the intelligence community to keep the highly-classified intel as secret as humanly possible, including not sharing it throughout the government; something all reporting says they certainly did. But they underestimated Trump’s incompetence and instead of sharing it throughout the government, in a fit of braggadocio he shared it with a hostile foreign adversary that happens to be a very close ally with Israel’s sworn enemy Iran.

Israel has repeatedly warned American officials that it would put a screeching halt to access to such sensitive information if it were to be shared too widely, according to one former American official. Besides putting the life of an Israeli spy at risk, there is justifiable fear that Russian intelligence will easily  determine exactly how the information was collected  and be able to easily disrupt Israel’s  espionage efforts. The Russians don’t even have to waste one nano-second determining where the information was collected because Trump told them.  Part of that fear on the part of Israel is Russia’s very close ties and allegiance to Iran. It is something that any competent government official is already aware of and it is added proof that Donald Trump is not only a corrupt criminal, he is either  the epitome of incompetence or is deeper in debt to Vladimir Putin than anyone can possibly imagine; likely it is a combination of the two.

As many commentators have noted, of course a president can share whatever information they want with impunity, but this is a different story and more than just a breach of intelligence sharing protocol; especially when it compromises America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East and puts the life of their agent at serious risk. As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) noted:

The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order. It’s got to happen. To compromise [an intelligence] source is something that you just don’t do, and that’s why we keep the information we get from intelligence sources so close as to prevent that from happening.”

Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and he had a similar assessment to Senator Corker’s. He said on Twitter: “This is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources and methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians.”

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee was not nearly as diplomatic as either Senator Corker or Warner. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) lashed out at dumb Donnie and said:

President Trump’s recklessness with sensitive information is deeply disturbing and clearly problematic. The president of the United States has the power to share hare classified information with whomever they wish, but the American people expect the president to use that power wisely.”

In this case, Trump’s recklessness not only put Israel’s intelligence-gathering abilities at risk, his need to boast put an Israeli operative’s life at risk by revealing highly-classified intelligence, and the location from where it was collected. One can only imagine the Israelis, particularly their powerful spy agency Mossad, are fuming and carefully considering what method of retribution to impose on Trump, and it is likely that very few people on the planet could possibly blame them.

There are many theories floating around about what drove Trump’s latest dangerous action; is he compromised by Putin, did his ego push him to boast he knew a secret few in the government were aware of, or is he as incompetent as he is corrupt; something a growing number of Americans have finally come to realize. Regardless if it is incompetence or corruption, Trump’s latest action seriously jeopardized America’s standing and partnerships with each and every one of its intelligence gathering allies around the world to either impress or repay Vladimir Putin.