05:19 GMT +321 July 2019
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    FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa.

    US Attorney General Advised Trump Against Dropping Arpaio Case Before Trial

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    Attorney General Jeff Sessions told US President Donald Trump back in the spring that it would be inappropriate for the government to drop the case against former Maricopa county (Arizona) sheriff Joseph Arpaio, whom the president pardoned earlier this week, US media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In July, Arpaio was found guilty of violating a court order to stop arresting people on suspicion of them being undocumented migrants. Trump said on Friday that he had granted clemency to 85-year old sheriff, stressing that Arpaio "kept Arizona safe."

    According to the Washington Post newspaper, citing three sources with the knowledge of that conversation, Trump asked for Session's advice and subsequently decided to let the case go to trial intending to pardon the ex-sheriff if he was convicted.

    The Justice Department declined to comment on this story, the newspaper said.

    Trump's decision has faced some criticism, including from members of his own party. House Speaker Paul Ryan disagreed with the presidential pardon, according to a statement by his spokesman Doug Andres.

    "Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon," Andres told NBC news in an email.

    Republican Senator John McCain said in a statement that "no one is above the law" and Arpaio, who was found guilty of continuing to racially profile people in Arizona despite a court order forbidding this, showed "no remorse for his actions." According to McCain, the president's pardon in this case undermined his pledge to respect the rule of law.


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