The White House legal team has counseled President Donald Trump to delay issuing a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio was convicted on contempt charges in July for ignoring a 2016 federal court order instructing him to stop using traffic stops and workplace raids to enforce immigration laws. White House lawyers have reportedly told Trump that a pardon may prove unnecessary, as they believe the court order that Arpaio ignored was unconstitutional, sources involved in the process told CBS News.
The White House legal team has also advised against immediately issuing the pardon on the basis that Arpaio’s Oct. 5 sentencing may very well be lenient and not include any jail time.
CNN reported Wednesday that the White House had prepared the requisite paperwork for issuing a pardon. CBS sources denied the veracity of the CNN report, claiming that no paperwork or supporting talking points have been prepared.
“He could go ahead and do it but the advice is to wait and at least until sentencing,” one source told CBS. “The hope is he let’s the process play out some more.”
Trump insinuated that Arpaio would receive a pardon during a campaign style rally Tuesday night in Phoenix. “He’s going to be just fine,” Trump said. “I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy, okay? But Sheriff Joe can feel good.”
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