Trump defends pardoning former Sheriff of Arizona

29 Aug 2017

US President Donald Trump has defended his controversial pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio calling him a "patriot" and alleged that the previous presidents, including Barack Obama, have pardoned "criminals". Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case. He has been accused for years of violating basic human rights in his prisons, but Trump insisted yesterday that he was no worse than Americans who had been granted clemency by previous presidents.
"Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election -- an election that he would have won."
"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. If you look at, as an example, President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who was charged with crimes going back decades, including illegally buying oil from Iran while it held 53 American hostages -- was not allowed to do that, selling to the enemies of the United States, he alleged. He was pardoned after his wife donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clintons, Trump alleged. "Then you have dangerous criminals. President Clinton pardoned Susan Rosenberg, a member of the Weather Underground, charged as part of a bank robbery that led to a guard and two police officers being killed. President Clinton commuted the sentence of Carlos Vignali, a central player in a cocaine ring that stretched from California to Minnesota," he alleged.
"President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who leaked countless sensitive and classified documents to WikiLeaks, perhaps and others. But a horrible, horrible thing that he did. Commuted the sentence and perhaps pardoned," he said. Obama also commuted the sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was charged as part of a violent independence group from Puerto Rico, responsible for 28 Chicago-area bombings and many deaths in the 1970s and 1980s, Trump alleged responding to a question on why he pardoned Sheriff Joe, for which he has been widely criticised. (PTI)