Trump's lawlessness on immigration is only getting worse.
So much for the rule of law.
CNN reported on Friday that Trump recently told then-Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan — who Trump has since named acting secretary of Homeland Security, after Kirsten Nielsen's ouster — to break the law, and that Trump would pardon him if he were sent to jail.
This follows a CNN report earlier this week that Trump was ordering immigration officials to block asylum seekers from entering the United States. Because asylum seekers have the legal right to enter the country and apply for asylum, heeding Trump's call would mean those officials would be violating the law and opening themselves up to criminal prosecution.
Now it seems Trump was asking McAleenan to oversee this practice, and promising a pardon for it. Shareblue readers might recognized McAleenan as the guy who praised CBP agents for tear gassing kids at the border.
"What's animating [Trump] is he hates these laws, he hates immigration laws, so he's telling people stop obeying them, stop adhering to them," CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who broke the story, said on his program Friday.
Trump has been known to misuse pardons during his time in office.
He pardoned an unrepentant Joe Arpaio — the virulently racist former Maricopa County sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt for blatantly violating a judge's orders to stop racially profiling people. Arpaio neither admitted his guilt nor atoned for his crimes, which completely violate the spirit of pardons. According to the Department of Justice guidelines on pardons, "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."
Trump also pardoned conservative conspiracy theorist Dinesh D'Souza — who routinely gets schooled on Twitter about his false claims about Democrats and slavery — who pleaded guilty to an illegal straw donor scheme.
There were also fears that Trump dangled pardons to targets of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in order to prevent those targets from flipping and testifying against Trump. It's unclear whether Mueller ever found evidence of that, as the report Mueller wrote has been kept hidden from public view by Trump Attorney General Bill Barr.
Trump's abuse of pardons is so severe that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced legislation in March to prevent Trump from abusing his pardon power.
"The President has a broad power to confer pardons, but not when they are designed to insulate himself, his family and his associates from criminal investigation," Schiff said in a release announcing the legislation. "Such an abuse of the pardon power would amount to obstruction of justice and is not countenanced by the Constitution."
Given Friday's news, it looks like Schiff's bill is more important than ever.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.